Tamil Nadu

Ordinance for indirect election of mayors, municipal chairmen promulgated in Tamil Nadu

The Ripon Buildings. File photo.

The Ripon Buildings. File photo.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

An ordinance for holding indirect elections to the post of mayors and chairpersons of municipalities in Tamil Nadu has been promulgated by Governor Banwarilal Purohit following a State Cabinet decision.

Although the promulgation took place on Tuesday, it was made public only on Wednesday evening.

Better accountability and collective responsibility of elected representatives of urban local bodies (ULBs) are among the factors cited by the State government to change the mode of election from direct to indirect for the top civic posts.

This is the second time in three years that the government has gone back on its decision on the mode of electing mayors and municipal chairpersons. While in 2016, the Jayalalithaa government had favoured indirect elections, in 2018 the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government had decided to go in for direct elections. However, before the much-delayed local body polls could be held, the AIADMK government has again reversed its decision.

Among other reasons cited for the latest decision are the possibility of conflict between directly elected heads of the ULBs and councillors and the likely adverse impact on smooth functioning of the elected bodies. “If indirect election is conducted for electing mayor/chairperson, there will be stability and collective responsibility among the head of the urban local bodies and all the elected councillors, and the local bodies will be able to function in a harmonious and constructive way,” the ordinance stated. To substantiate this point, the measure cited the examples of Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore corporations, all large urban areas, where the volume of business in the councils was “on a large scale”. Chennai has 200 councillors while Madurai and Coimbatore have 100 each. “In such a scenario, cooperation of the majority of the councillors is indispensable to have a smooth transaction of business in the council meeting,” it stated.

The decision was based on representations received from various fora and the public to the effect that indirect elections would be better for the “smooth functioning” of ULBs.

The ordinance was issued to amend the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919; the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act, 1920; the Madurai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1971 and the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation Act, 1981. It would be applicable to 15 municipal corporations, 121 municipalities and 528 town panchayats.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 10:40:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ordinance-on-indirect-election-of-mayors-chairmen-promulgated/article30031348.ece

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