The Telangana Municipalities Act, 2019, that was passed by the Telangana Legislature apparently did not get the assent of Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan as he was believed to have raised some objections to certain provisions.
According to sources, the State government had since addressed the issues raised by the Governor and promulgated an ordinance. However, no word was out why the Governor refused to give his assent nor the fresh ordinance issued by the government was made public.
It may be recalled that certain provisions of the new municipalities Act giving sweeping regulatory powers to District Collectors as also taking stern action against the representatives of urban local bodies as well as employees and officers for failure to do their duties evoked criticism from the Opposition. The Congress and BJP criticised that the new Act violated the democratic spirit and undermined the powers of local bodies’ representatives for self-governance in violation of the 73rd and 74th amendments.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao gave an elaborate explanation in the Assembly while moving the Bill on the supreme powers given to Collectors with the objective of doing away with political interference in the functioning of municipalities and municipal corporations. The provisions are to instil fear in the functionaries of local bodies as well as their staff and officers that violation of rules would cost them their posts and jobs.
He justified the provision for removal of employees from service for dereliction of duties to streamline the urban local bodies and make them adhere to the law. “”The Act has been brought to prevent harassment and exploitation of people who go to municipal offices for various certificates and bring in transparency in giving building permissions and layout approvals,” the Chief Minister told the Assembly. The Act also provided for demolition of illegal constructions without notice.
Importantly, the Act had a provision empowering the government to decide the date of local body elections . The Chief Minister told the Assembly that while the State Election Commission would have all the powers for the process and conduct of elections, the Government would only decide the date so as to ensure that no section of society was subjected to inconvenience.