Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Sunday referred to the President a controversial ordinance approved by the state government after he refused to give nod to two bills to curtail financial and administrative powers of mayors and chairpersons of urban local bodies. The Uttar Pradesh Urban Local Self-Government Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 was cleared by the state cabinet on October 17 and sent to the Governor on October 28 for his assent.
“The Governor after review of the draft found that it was not only against the autonomous character of Nagar Nigam (municipal corporation) and Nagar Palika (municipal council) but also against constitutional provisions,” a release issued by governor said. It said the Governor has referred the proposed legislation to the President.
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The draft ordinance proposes to give the right of appointment of officers and employees in different categories from mayors and Nagar Palika chairmen to the state government and directors of local bodies. The proposed law is the brainchild of UP Urban Development Minister Azam Khan, who had drafted it after the governor refused to give his nod to two bills with similar provisions.
Khan, who is also UP Parliamentary Affairs Minister, had earlier blamed UP Raj Bhawan for keeping on hold the bill that allows action against mayors. During a discussion in the state Assembly early this year on the Uttar Pradesh Nagar Nigam (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Khan had alleged that it appeared that Governor Ram Naik did not want action against members of “one particular party”.
“A Bill is pending with the Governor for over one year, through which, mayors could be removed for financial irregularities… The Governor has stalled the bill giving an impression that he is working under influence of a party,” Khan had said on the floor of the House. The Bill was not given assent so that mayors could not be punished for their “dishonesty”, Khan had alleged.
Upset over Khan’s comments, the governor had asked for the unedited CD and transcript of the senior minister’s speech in the state legislature. Khan has been engaged in a war of words with Naik for some time, with the Samajwadi Party leader accusing him of being a “kar sevak” and “communally vitiating” the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh at the behest of the Modi government at the Centre.
The controversial UP Nagar Nigam (Amendment) Bill, 2015 gives power to the state government to remove mayors, besides curtailing the powers of local bodies. It provides for enhancing the financial powers of chairman of nagarpalika and nagar panchayat to Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively, while that of mayor has been kept at Rs 15 lakh. It also provides for merger of UP Nagar Nigam Act,1959 and UP Nagar Palika Act,1916. It has provisions of removal of mayor of municipal corporations and Nagarpalika and Nagar Panchayat chairman by the government.