Only elected members of municipalities and ward committees can be elected as chairperson of the wards and standing committees, while members nominated by the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor to the committees can be considered for election as vice-chairman, the Delhi High Court has said.
In its judgment issued earlier this week, the bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta upheld a single bench judgment on the issue of whether nominated members of municipalities had voting rights in the committees.
The court’s decision came on appeals filed by the three municipal corporations against a single bench order issued earlier this year, in which the bench had allowed pleas by persons nominated to the three MCDs by the Delhi administrator to submit their names for election as the deputy chairperson of the ward committees.
The nominated members of the corporations had filed writ petitions before the High Court, seeking clarification on the issue of their voting rights and membership in the standing committees.
The corporations, in their plea, had argued that the “purpose of their appointment was to assist the elected members of the corporation” and such persons could not be elected to the committees.
They also claimed that the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 had created a distinction between a corporation “councillor” and “member”.
Answering the question in the affirmative, the court has noted that that the “clear legislative intent is that — of the members of the standing committee – only those who are councillors can be elected as chairman. There being no such stipulation in the statute for being elected as a deputy chairman, the judge has held that these nominated persons can offer their candidature to be elected as a deputy chairman of the standing committee”.
The decision removes the ambiguity regarding the status of the “expert members” who may be nominated to the corporations because of their “special knowledge in municipal administration”.