The Gram Sabha is the fulcrum of the Panchayati Raj and village development. People use the forum of the Gram Sabha to discuss local governance and development, and make need- based plans for the village.
The Panchayat implements development programs under the overarching mandate, supervision and monitoring of the Gram Sabha. All decisions of the Panchayat are taken through the Gram Sabha and no decision is official and valid without the consent of the Gram Sabha.
What is Gram Sabha
The term Gram Sabha is defined in the Constitution of India under Article 243(b).
Gram Sabha is the primary body of the Panchayati Raj system and by far the largest.
It is a permanent body.
Gram Sabha is the Sabha of the electorate. All other institutions of the Panchayati Raj like the Gram Panchayat, Block Panchayat and Zilla Parishad are constituted by elected representatives.
The decisions taken by the Gram Sabha cannot be annulled by any other body. The power to annul a decision of the Gram Sabha rests with the Gram Sabha only.
Who are the members of Gram Sabha
Persons, those who are above 18 years of age and
living in the village and
whose names are included in the electoral rolls for the Panchayat at the village level.
Scheduled meetings of the Gram Sabha
According to the State Panchayat Raj Acts, the Gram Sabha must meet at least two to four times in a year.
For people's convenience, in most of the States, four national-international days have been identified as reference dates for these meetings. They are
Republic Day (26th January)
Labour day (1st May)
Independence Day (15th August)
Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October)
Gram Panchayats are however free to convene Gram Sabha on other dates according to their convenience.
Venue, Time and Place of Gram Sabha
Gram Sabha should be conducted within the purview of GP at a place convenient for all the members to sit.
In case of multiple villages under a GP, Gram Sabha may be conducted on rotation basis in all the villages’ one after the other.
Gram Sabha can be conducted anytime during day time i.e., after sunrise and before sunset.
Who Organises Gram Sabha
The Panchayat Secretary after obtaining approval of the Sarpanch should organize the Gram Sabha.
Gram Panchayat Sarpanch has to convene a Gram Sabha meeting when either 10% members of Gram Sabha or 50 persons of Gram Sabha (whichever is more) submits their requisition for holding a Gram Sabha. However, those members have to inform the purpose for the meeting.
A written request for the meeting must be handed over to the Sarpanch during office hours 5 days before the date of meeting.
If the Sarpanch fails to hold the meeting on the requested date, the members who requested the meeting can themselves organize the gram Sabha meeting.