Late Shri K C Sivaramakrshnan, who was Honorary Research Professor at CPR, acted as Coordinator of this project. The project was sponsored by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and undertaken through the auspices of the Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), where the author held a concurrent honorary position as Senior Fellow.
In the past decade, there have been over 900 judgments of different High Courts and the Supreme Court relating to various laws of the states to implement the provisions of the 73rd and the 74th Constitutional amendments. The project involved a close study of these judgments to assess and identify the points of jurisprudential importance, the matters where adjudication had settled the law, and the anomalies or deficiencies in the state laws requiring rectification. Two other companion studies reviewed the Panchayati Raj (PR) laws as well as laws on other subjects which impinge on the functional domain of the PR bodies. The study covered the southern and northeastern states of India, Maharashtra, Goa, Orissa and West Bengal. The remaining states were covered by another organisation, The Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra of Dehra Dun. The ISS study on behalf of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj drew significantly from the premises and hypothesis contained in the author’s earlier work ‘Power to the People? The Politics and Progress of Decentralisation’ published by CPR.