Come February 2016, no one will be able to contest panchayat elections in Bihar without having a toilet at home. The move aimed at ensuring proper sanitation in the rural areas, came through with the passage of the Bihar Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act 2015.
With amendment to the existing Act, ward members will now have to ensure that all households in their respective areas have toilets.
Earlier, the state government had announced a grant of Rs 8,000 — besides Central fund of Rs 4,000 per BPL family — to construct a toilet. This provision, however, was not part of the latest amendment.
The amended Act passed by the Assembly Wednesday passed incorporated provisions on having toilet at home for a candidate to be able to contest panchayat elections for the positions of the panchayat mukhiya, sarpanch, panchayat sachiv and ward member.
The toilet rule would apply to all panchayat-level polls held after January 31, 2015.
The amended Act also included a provision to give legal status to an assembly or sabha that can pass important resolitions. Earlier, there was a provision for a gram sabha at the panchayat level. To provide stability to Panchayati Raj institutions, the amended Act only provides an option to bring one no-confidence motion against the gram kachahari heads and mukhiyas instead of earlier provision of two or more no-trust motions during the five-year tenure. The no-confidence motion, according to the new Act, can only be moved after a panchayat head moves into his third year in office.