Delhi govt may challenge MCD unification Bill in court: CM Kejriwal
Kejriwal said the Bill is unconstitutional because it appears to provide the Central government with greater authority by specifying that the word “government” will be replaced with “Central government” in at least 11 sections of the current legislation
The Delhi government may challenge the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday to reunify the Capital’s three municipal corporations, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who termed the Bill a move to delay the municipal elections, said on Saturday.
Kejriwal said the Bill is unconstitutional because it appears to provide the Central government with greater authority by specifying that the word “government” will be replaced with “Central government” in at least 11 sections of the current legislation--the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act (DMC), 1957--which pertains to naming or resizing any zone or ward, listing out the obligatory functions of the MCD, rules on declaring assets of councillors, the appointment and pay scale of the commissioner, approvals for loans and action against any councillor or MCD official.
“Now the Centre will run the MCD. This is against the constitution. We will study the Bill and if there is a need we will challenge the Bill in court,” Kejriwal said.
He said the only purpose behind the introduction of the Bill was to delay the MCD (municipal corporations of Delhi) polls. “The total number of municipality wards will be whittled down from 272 to 250. What is the advantage of this? There is no logic behind it. There is only one reason behind it. The reduction in the number of municipality wards will necessitate a delimitation exercise. Due to delimitation, the election will be delayed by one or two years,” said Kejriwal.
Delhi’s municipal ward boundaries were last redrawn between 2016 and 2017; the process took around 16 months.
The move to merge the three municipal corporations that has delayed the municipal elections in Delhi has become another major political tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules the Centre and the three MCDs and the Aam Aadmi Party, the major contender in the MCD polls. The AAP has also questioned the timing of the move since the Centre made public its intention to unify the three civic bodies only half an hour before the Delhi state election commission was going to announce the schedule for the MCD election on March 9.
The Centre, meanwhile, has stressed that the unification of the MCDs will create a unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi as “a single, integrated and well-equipped entity”. The AAP government has slammed the move and called it the “murder of democracy”. The AAP has claimed that the BJP does not want elections in the municipalities since it is sure of its defeat and also alleged that this is why the Centre got the polls deferred. On March 9, the State Election Commission had deferred the announcement of the schedule for MCD elections citing a communication by the Centre that it intends to merge the three civic bodies in Delhi.
Kejriwal on Saturdayalso hit out at the BJP over the movie Kashmir Files, saying that the BJP had failed to rehabilitate any Kashmiri Pandit since their exodus despite being in power for 13 years. “Since the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, BJP has been in power for 13 years. The BJP has been in the Centre for the last eight years. Not even a single family has been rehabilitated during this period. The BJP has done only pure politics on the pain and agony of the Kashmiri Pandits,” Kejriwal said in reply to a question on the controversy his recent remarks on the demands to make Kashmir Files tax free in Delhi created.
“ After doing politics, now they have made a film on their pain and anguish and want to earn crores of rupees. The movie is said to have made over ₹200 crore so far. It is criminal to make a movie on the pain and anguish of a community and mint money. The country will not tolerate it,” Kejriwal said.
The chief minister also reiterated his suggestion that the movie should be uploaded on the video sharing and social media website YouTube so that everyone can watch it. He also said the money made through the movie should be spent on rehabilitation. “Now, concrete steps should be taken so that Kashmiri Pandits can return to their homes,” Kejriwal said.