Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Area Act, 1996 (PESA) Enacted on December 24, 1996

12, Nov 2019

The 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution provided for the three-tier Panchayat system under Part IX. Under the Amendment, Article 243M(4)(b) provided that the parliament may, by law, extend the provisions of the Panchayat system to the Scheduled Areas covered in Schedule V. The government established a High Level Committee under the chairmanship of Dilip Singh Bhuria, and on the basis of the Committee’s recommendations, PESA was enacted. The legislation was thus enacted in order to ensure that people living in the Scheduled Areas of India engage in self-governance through traditional Gram Sabhas.

Section 4(m) of the PESA endows Panchayats in the Scheduled Areas with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government.

It further states that a State Legislature shall ensure that the Panchayats at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha are endowed specifically with the ownership of minor forest produce, the power to prevent alienation of land in the Scheduled Areas and to take appropriate action to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a Scheduled Tribe, and the power to control over local plans and resources for such plans including tribal sub-plans.

PESA can be found here:

CJP stands with the millions of Adivasis whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the shocking order by the Supreme Court. We are working to ensure the forest rights of Adivasis in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh, and to deepen our understanding of the Forest Rights Act and support Adivasis’ struggles across the country. Please support our efforts by donating here.


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