The Municipal Corporation Amendment Bill 2022 is likely to be tabled in the Parliament.
Key Highlights of Municipal Corporation Amendment Bill:
- The Bill seeks to amend the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 passed by Parliament. The Act was amended in 2011 by Delhi Legislative Assembly to trifurcate the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi into:
- North Delhi Municipal Corporation,
- South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and
- East Delhi Municipal Corporation.
- The Bill seeks to unify the three corporations.
- Unification of Municipal Corporations in Delhi: The Bill replaces the three municipal corporations under the Act with one Corporation named the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
- Powers of the Delhi government: The Act as amended in 2011 empowers the Delhi government to decide various matters under the Act. These include:
- Total number of seats of councillors and number of seats reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes,
- Division of the area of corporations into zones and wards,
- Delimitation of wards,
- matters such as salary and allowances, and leave of absence of the Commissioner,
- Sanctioning of consolidation of loans by a corporation, and
- Sanctioning suits for compensation against the Commissioner for loss or waste or misapplication of Municipal Fund or property.
- Similarly, the Act mandates that the Commissioner will exercise his powers regarding building regulations under the general superintendence and directions of Delhi government. The Bill instead empowers the central government to decide these matters.
- Number of councillors: The Act provides that the number of seats in the three corporations taken together should not be more than 272. The 14th Schedule to the Act specifies 272 wards across the three Corporations. The Bill states that the total number of seats in the new Corporation should not be more than 250.
- Removal of Director of Local Bodies: The Act provides for a Director of Local Bodies to assist the Delhi government and discharge certain functions which include: (i) coordinating between Corporations, (ii) framing recruitment Rules for various posts, and (iii) coordinating the collecting and sharing of toll tax collected by the respective Corporations. The Bill omits the provision for a Director of Local Bodies.
- Special officer to be appointed by the central government: The Bill provides that the central government may appoint a Special Officer to exercise powers of the Corporation until the first meeting of the Corporation is held after the commencement of the Bill.
- E-governance system for citizens: The Bill adds that obligatory functions of the new Corporation will include establishing an e-governance system for citizen services on anytime-anywhere basis for better, accountable, and transparent administration.
- Conditions of service for sweepers: The Act provides that a sweeper employed for doing house scavenging of a building would be required to give a reasonable cause or a 14 day notice before discontinuing his service. The Bill seeks to omit this provision.
The system of Municipalities or Urban Local Governments was constitutionalized through the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992. The provisions in this amendment are included in Part IXA which came into force on June 1, 1993. Therefore, it gave a constitutional foundation to the local self-government units in urban areas.
74th Constitutional Amendment
The 74th Amendment Act of 1992 provides a basic framework of decentralization of powers and authorities to the Municipal bodies at different levels. However, responsibility for giving it a practical shape rests with the States.
The term ‘Urban Local Government’ in India signifies the governance of an urban area by the people through their elected representatives. The jurisdiction of an urban local government is limited to a specific urban area, which is demarcated for this purpose by the state government.
- The 74th Amendment Act has added a new Part IX-A to the Constitution of India.
- This part is entitled as ‘The Municipalities’ and consists of provisions from Articles 243-P to 243-ZG.
- Additionally, the act also added a new Twelfth Schedule to the Constitution. This schedule contains 18 functional items of municipalities.
- The Act has brought Municipalities under the purview of the justiciable part of the Constitution.
- In other words, state governments are under constitutional obligation to adopt the new system of municipalities in accordance with the provisions of the act [Article 243 Q].
- The act aims at revitalizing and strengthening the urban governments so that they function effectively as units of local government.
Need for creation of Municipal Corporation:
- The growing population and urbanisation in India’s cities necessitated the establishment of a local governing body capable of collecting property taxes and fixed grants from the state government in order to provide essential community services such as health care, education, housing, and transportation.
- In the Constitution of India, no provision was made for the establishment of local self-government, except the incorporation of Article 40 in the Directive Principles of State Policy.
- The 74th Amendment Act, 1992 has inserted a new Part IX-A into the Constitution which deals with the administration of Municipalities and Nagar Palikas.
- It consists of Article 243P to 243ZG. It also added a new twelfth schedule to the Constitution. The 12th schedule consists of 18 items.
- Each municipal region is divided into geographical constituencies known as wards based on the population of that particular city.
- Each ward elects a representative, who is chosen by the residents of that ward. Members of the wards committee are elected for a five-year term on the basis of adult franchise.
- A councillor or corporator is a chosen representative of a certain ward.
- The population of a city determines the number of wards in a municipal area. Scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, disadvantaged classes, and women have seats reserved.
Source: Indian Express