It will facilitate better administration of corporations, municipalities: Minister

The State Assembly unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday paving the way for direct elections for the post of Mayor and chairpersons of municipalities and town panchayats in the State.

Moving the bill ‘Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2011, K.P. Munusamy, Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development, said direct elections would facilitate better administration of corporations and municipalities resulting in more efficient and quick delivery of civic services to the people.

Five years ago, when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) assumed power the method of elections was made indirect after which the Mayors and municipal chairpersons were elected indirectly by the councillors from among themselves.

Mr. Munusamy said it was brought to the notice of the government that most of them were merely concentrating on the development of their respective ward from where they get elected instead of concentrating on the development of the corporation or municipal areas. Therefore, the government has decided to change the elections from indirect to direct, he said.

As per the amendment, the persons standing for the post of Mayor would not be eligible to stand for the post of councillor. The deputy Mayor, however, will be elected by councillors from among themselves as per procedures. The next election to corporations, municipalities and town panchayats has to be conducted before October 24, 2011.

Removal of Mayor

As per the amendment, a section has been inserted into the 1919 Act outlying the procedures for removal of Mayors. Councillors constituting three-fifth of the sanctioned strength of the council could, by written notice to the commissioner, move a motion against the Mayor who wilfully omits or refuses to carry out or disobeys any provision of this Act. The motion would be deemed to have been passed by the council if four-fifth of sanctioned strength is present and voting is in favour of it.

After considering the views of the council, the State government would offer the Mayor time to explain. If no explanation is offered or if the explanation is not satisfactory, the State government will pass orders removing the Mayor. The orders of the State would be final. Welcoming the direct elections to urban local bodies, the opposition and alliance parties asked the government to consider holding direct elections in rural local bodies such as panchayat unions also, but the Minister said it was up to the Centre.

Through another bill, the government decided to conduct elections to the Tirunelveli and Salem Corporations based on the existing territorial area of wards as delimitation work had not been completed yet. By another bill, the government fixed the minimum number of councillors as fifteen in municipalities.