A three-judge bench of the Bombay High Court has been constituted to decide whether a political party can from its quota nominate to the standing committee of a municipal corporation a member of another party.
The full bench was constituted in view of four conflicting judgments of high court benches. “The decision of the full bench will have a bearing on the constitution of standing committees of various municipal corporations in the country and the state in particular,” said V.A. Gangal, counsel for the corporations.
The question to be considered by the full bench is whether, in the light of Section 31 A(2) of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, a party which is entitled to a quota can nominate to the committee a member who does not belong to it.
Section 31 A(2) of the act says councillors on various committees, including the standing committee, shall be nominated taking into account the relative strength of recognised or registered parties in proportion to the strength of such parties in the body.
“Suppose the total strength of the corporation is 100 seats and 10 members of a party are elected, then they are entitled to get one-10th of the total number of seats,” said MM Vashi, counsel for one of the petitioners.
In April 2007, a division bench of Justice FI Rebello and Justice RM Sawant had held that the proper construction of Section 31 A(2) will be to first nominate members to the standing committee from among the registered parties which have the necessary quotient based on relative strength of their membership of the general body.
In February, a division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice JH Bhatia and another bench of Justice BH Marlapalle and Justice DG Karnik disagreed with the order.
The matter will be heard by Justice Bilal Nazki, Justice DB Bosale and Justice VK Tahilramani on April 24.