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Saturday, May 30, 2020

West Bengal: Governor seeks reply from govt over new KMC board

The Governor on Thursday invoked Article 167 of the Constitution to draw the attention of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over Wednesday's notification.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: May 8, 2020 6:29:09 am
west bengal governor, jagdeep dhankar, kolkata municipal council, board of administrators nomination in kolkata, kolkata cm, mamata banerjee, Calcutta High Court, indian express news West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar (Express)

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has sought information from the state government for its decision to nominate a board of administrators, led by Mayor Firhad Hakim, to run the Kolkata Municipal Corporation without informing him. A petition was also filed in the Calcutta High Court against Wednesday’s government notification.

The Governor on Thursday invoked Article 167 of the Constitution to draw the attention of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over Wednesday’s notification.

“The notification dated May 6 about the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is yet to be made available. From every consideration, this should have been sent to Raj Bhavan without delay. This notification is widely in circulation in media. Chief Secretary may be called upon to urgently forward the notification dated May 06 as also the entire decision making process, including the authority that has taken this decision (sic),” read a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan on Thursday.

The state government has appointed a 14-member board of administrators with Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim as chairman to run KMC.

The board was formed following the postponement of the civic elections in the state amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It will ensure unhindered essential services to common people from May 8.

The KMC election was last held on May 8, 2015 and a five-year term of the office of the councillors expired on Thursday. The government notification said the first meeting of the board of administrators would be held on Friday.

The statement from Raj Bhavan further said, “This be accorded highest priority given its constitutional repercussions impacting bodies that are subject to Part IX A of the Constitution. Lack of response from the Chief Secretary led to invocation of Article 167 of the Constitution.”

Plea in HC challenges state govt’s decision

A writ petition was filed before the Calcutta High Court on Thursday, challenging the same notification issued by the state government to appoint Hakim as the chairperson of the board.

In his plea, one Sharad Kumar Singh said the state government had illegally appointed the members of outgoing mayor-in-council and the mayor of the KMC as members and chairperson of the civic body’s board of administrators respectively.

Seeking quashing of the notification, the petitioner claimed that there was no provision for appointment of administrator in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Act. The high court, which is currently hearing only very urgent matters over video conferences amid the lockdown, is scheduled to sit next on May 12.

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