Taking up a petition filed by Chandigarh BJP councilor Satinder Singh challenging the Municipal Corporation Act on the ground that it is against the Constitution of India as it allows nominated councillors to vote in Corporation’s meetings, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Corporation, Chandigarh administration and the Centre government asking as to why the voting provision should not be stayed.
The court, on Tuesday, also issued notices to nine nominated councillor namely Anoop Sunny Gill, Prof. Aruna Goel, Dr. Amrit Tewari, Babu Lal, Major DS Sandhu (retd.), MP Kohli, Sat Paul Bansal, Shagufta Parveen and Surinder Bahga to file their replies.
There are a total number of 26 elected councillors in the Corporation and nine nominated councillors. But the nominated councillors through their voting rights have been playing a decisive role in the past in electing the Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Elections for 26 wards of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation are scheduled in the third week of December.
It has been submitted that since there is nothing in Article 243 R of the Constitution of India to give right to vote to the nominated councillors, thus provisions of Section 4(3)(ii) of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1976, as extended to Chandigarh, are contrary to the provision of the Constitution.
It has been argued that since nominated members are not elected members, they have not taken the mandate of the electorate. Hence to give them right to vote in the meeting of the Corporation amounts to suppressing the will of the electorate and the right to exercise the vote by the nominated members tilt the balance against the wishes of the electorate.
It has further been submitted that that right to vote to nominated councillors is not only undemocratic but prone to misuse also because it cannot be expected from a nominated person to go against the will of his/her nominator.
The Municipal Corporation Act says that the Corporation shall be composed of “nine members with voting rights 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.”