WITH THE relations between the Congress and nominated councillors having hit a low, Congress councillor Subhash Chawla has sought information under the Right to Information Act about the criteria of selection of the nominated councillors.
Stating that the nominated councillors are required to have practical experience of municipal administration, Chawla has sought details of recommendations sent by politicians or senior officers for the selection.
The current lot of nine nominated councillors was selected in 2012 when the Congress was in power. In fact, for the first time, the announcement of names was made after the results of the MC elections were declared, causing furore over the selection.
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Chawla stated that if some clause was overlooked in the past, that did not mean it should be overlooked in the future as well. He claimed as he had taken up the matter, now selection of new nominated councillors would be done carefully.
In the RTI application, Chawla has asked for the biodata of the nominated councillors, whether it was submitted before the recommendations. It has been asked whether applications were invited by the Chandigarh Administration for appointment of nominated councillors in 2012 and how many applications were received.
Also, Chawla has asked whether any criteria were observed for the recommendation of nine nominated councillors by the Chandigarh Administration. He has sought all the relevant documents of the nominated councillors with regard to their special knowledge or practical experience in respect of municipal administration.
Questioning the role of politicians and senior officers, Chawla asked, “Whether any politician or senior officer recommended the names of nominated councillors through DO letter or by any other means. If yes, copies of the same be provided.”
Former MP Pawan Kumar Bansal said that he wasn’t aware of the RTI application filed but at the same time, he did not disapprove of it too. “Be it Congress in power or BJP in power, nominated councillors should not indulge in mud- slinging. I held the opinion that if nominated councillors are there then they should have the right to vote. But I have been observing through media reports and members tell me what has been happening in the House meetings. He[Chawla] is a senior member and must have felt [the need] to revisit the issues,” said Bansal.
Mayor Arun Sood said, “If they are seeking details of the criteria now that means the Congress adopted a wrong method while selecting them. Recommendations were given by Congress at that time. It means they were wrong.”
Chawla has mentioned the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, extended to Union Territory Chandigarh w.e.f. May 24,1994 by the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law. It was stated that according to Section 4 sub-section 3 (ii), nine members with voting rights are to be nominated by the administrator from amongst the persons who are eminent or distinguished in public affairs or those who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of municipal administration.
After the BJP clinched the mayoral post this year, relations between the nominated councillors and the Congress councillors have become strained with the latter terming the former opportunists. In the last two House meetings, the spat between nominated and Congress councillors turned so ugly that every time the Congress had to boycott the meet.