Nominated members of municipal corporations in NCT Delhi entitled to be member and Deputy Chairperson of Corporation’s Standing Committee

Delhi High Court: Allowing the petition of nominated members of North Delhi Municipal Corporation who were denied the right to vote in the meetings and offer their candidature for the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Corporation, the Court ruled that the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (Act) permits members nominated under Section 3(3)(b)(i)of the Act to be members of the Standing Committee, if they are so elected in their respective Wards Committee. After discussing Article 243R and 243S of the Constitution, the Court opined that there is no restriction on the nominated members to be members of the Standing Committee. It was further said that the persons nominated to the Municipalities will have all the rights in relation to the Municipalities save and except what is/are expressly taken away. Since the Constitution empowers the legislature of each State to make laws in conformity with the constitutional scheme, it would be open to the legislature of a State to curtail the rights of these nominated members in relation to the working of the Municipalities and Section 45 of the Act is clear that any member of the Wards Committee can be represented on the Standing Committee.

Construing the word “member” in section 2(7) of the Act liberally and reading the Act in entirety along with the constitutional scheme, the Court held that section 44 read with section 45 and 51 of the Act makes it clear that the Chairperson of the Standing committee can only be a councillor (i.e. elected member) but any member, whether elected or nominated, could be elected as Deputy Chairperson of the standing committee.

However, the Court agreed with single judge that the proviso to Section 3(3)(b)(i) of the Act read with scheme of scheme revealed by Article 243R and Article 243S of the Constitution expresses that members nominated to the Corporations in the Union Territory of Delhi do not have the right to vote in the meetings of the Corporations.  North Delhi Municipal Corporation v. Onika Mehrotra, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 10347decided on 14th July, 2015

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