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Centre notifies Act to unify three municipal corporations of Delhi

Following the notification of the Act, the delimitation process is expected to begin shortly. The MCD elections will also be scheduled following the notification.

According to the Act, the three MCDs will be merged and will be called the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. (File Photo)

The Union Ministry of Law and Justice Tuesday notified the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, to reunify the three municipal corporations in the Capital. According to the Act, the three MCDs—East Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation—will be merged and will be called the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

All the liabilities, employees, and revenue sources of the SDMC, EDMC and NDMC will soon be transferred to the MCD. The Centre will also appoint a special officer to oversee the functions of the Corporation.

The Union Cabinet cleared the bill to merge the three MCDs on March 22 and passed the bill in Lok Sabha on March 30 amid protests from the Opposition. The Centre had cited increased financial liabilities of the three MCDs due to the trifurcation as the reason for the reunification of the MCDs and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had accused the Delhi government of “step-motherly” treatment of the MCDs. The Centre claimed that the financial constraints had left the MCDs “incapacitated to make timely payment of salaries and retirement benefits to their employees”.

Last month, the Delhi State Election Commission had sought legal advice if it can still hold polls for the three municipal corporations following a communication from the Centre for their unification. The Commission, after receiving the communication, had deferred the announcement of poll dates for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

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After that, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let MCD elections take place in the national capital, saying postponing polls weakens the democratic system.

Following the notification of the Act, the delimitation process is expected to begin shortly. The MCD elections will also be scheduled following the notification.

The Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Act, 2022, gives complete control of the civic body to the Centre. The Act also has a provision of the number of seats being fixed to not more than 250 which is currently 272. This means that there would be a delimitation exercise, which would lead to a considerable delay in the conduct of the civic body polls.

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One of the main features of the Act is that it empowers the central government more than the Delhi government. In 2012, the MCD was divided into three bodies – North Delhi, South Delhi and East Delhi municipal corporations.

The BJP had swept the 2017 elections, winning 181 out of 270 wards with an absolute majority in each of the corporations. The AAP came a distant second with 48 seats while the Congress, which won 30 seats, made significant gains compared to the 2015 Assembly polls, when it drew a blank.

First published on: 19-04-2022 at 11:07:11 am
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