Act empowers councillors who chair ward panels;
Ward panels have power to decide on suggestions.

All efforts made to give the right to the citizens to have their say in the administration of municipal bodies through Area Sabhas and Ward Committees (WCs) since 1992 may ultimately turn out to be a futile exercise, at least in Karnataka.

That’s because the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act 1976 gives an extraordinary veto power to councillors, who will chair the WCs.

As per the Act, Area Sabhas may forward their suggestions to the WCs for development of the locality in 12 different fields. But the WCs are empowered to take a call on these suggestions and recommend them to the council.

Though the Act says that WCs should abide by the majority decision of the nominated members, it allows the chairpersons to exercise their veto.

Legal experts say that this veto power could defeat the very concept of community participation.

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