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SC on aldermen’s right to vote

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    10th Feb, 2023

Context

Recently, the Supreme Court mentioned that the Constitution does not allow nominated members of a municipality the right to vote in meetings, while issuing notice to the Lieutenant Governor and the pro tem presiding officer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Background

  • AAP mayoral candidate Shelly Oberoi had moved the Supreme Court pleading for swift and timely conduct of the mayoral polls after the House was stalled twice.
  • She later withdrew the petition while seeking permission to move the court again in case the aldermen were allowed to vote.

Nominated members of Municipal Corporation:

  • The General Body of a Municipality or Municipal Corporation constitutes of elected representatives called Councillors.
  • Councillors can nominate eminent personalities of the city to become the members of this body.
  • These nominated members are called 'Aldermen’.

Constitutional backing:

  • Article 243U of the Constitution mandates that elections to constitute a municipality should be completed well in time.
  • The pro tem presiding officer has allowed nominated members to vote in direct violation of Article 243R (2)(iv) of the Constitution, as pro tem presiding officer must be the Seniormost member of the council (which is not the case in Delhi).
  • Section 76 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act of 1957, the Mayor, or in his absence the Deputy Mayor, has to preside over every meeting of the corporation, the simultaneous holding elections of Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of the Standing Committees is directly contrary to the provisions of the statute.

Municipal body:

  • The system of Municipalities or Urban Local Governments was constitutionalised 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.

Elections to Municipalities: The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats and municipalities shall be vested in the State Election Commissions.

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