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Judiciary part 5- Municipalities | POLITY


  • The term ‘Urban Local Government’ in India signifies the governance of an urban area by the people through their elected representatives. The jurisdiction of an urban local government is limited to a specific urban area which is demarcated for this purpose by the state government.
  • There are eight types of urban local governments in India–
  • municipal corporation, municipality, notified area committee, town area committee, cantonment board, township, port trust and special purpose agency.
  • The system of urban government was constitutionalised through the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992. At the Central level, the subject of ‘urban local government’ is dealt with by the following three ministries:
    • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
    • Ministry of Defence in the case of cantonment boards
    • Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of Union Territories

Constitutionalisation | JUDICIARY PART 5 – MUNICIPALITIES

  • In August 1989, the Rajiv Gandhi government introduced the 65th Constitutional Amendment Bill (i.e., Nagarpalika Bill) in the Lok Sabha. The bill aimed at strengthening and revamping the municipal bodies by conferring a constitutional status on them. Although the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, it was defeated in the Rajya Sabha in October 1989 and hence, lapsed.
  • The National Front Government under V P Singh introduced the revised Nagarpalika Bill in the Lok Sabha again in September 1990. However, the bill was not passed and finally lapsed due to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. P V Narasimha Rao’s Government also introduced the modified Municipalities Bill inthe Lok Sabha in September 1991. It finally emerged as the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992 and came into force on 1 June 1993.

Salient Features of the 74th Amendment Act

  • The act created 3 types of municipalities.
    • Nagar Panchayat
    • Municipal Council
    • Municipal Corporation
  • Article 243Q makes it obligatory for every state to constitute such units.
  • Municipal council is a smaller urban area.
  • Nagar Panchayat is a transitional area. This is an area in transition from a rural to an urban area.
  • A Municipal Corporation is a larger urban area.
  • To conduct elections at regular intervals entire municipal area is divided into wards.
  • The members of a municipality shall be elected directly by the people.
  • The legislature of a State may by law provided for representation in the municipality with persons of special knowledge or experience in Municipal administration
  • Members of Lok sabha – representing the constituency of that area.
  • Members of Rajya Sabha – registered as an elector in the municipal area.
  • Members of State Assembly – representing the constituency of that area.
  • Members of Legislative Council – registered as an elector in the municipal area.
  • The chairpersons of committees other than ward committees.


  • All the members of a municipality shall be elected directly by the people of the municipal area. For this purpose, each municipal area shall be divided into territorial constituencies to be known as wards. The state legislature may provide the manner of election of the chairperson of a municipality. It may also provide for the representation of the following persons in a municipality.
    • Persons having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration without the right to vote in the meetings of municipality.
    • The members of the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assembly representing constituencies that comprise wholly or partly the municipal area.
    • The members of the Rajya Sabha and the state legislative council registered as electors within the municipal area.
    • The chairpersons of committees (other than wards committees).

Powers and Functions

  • The state legislature may endow the municipalities with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government. Legislatures of States have been Conferred the Power to Confer on the Municipalities all Such Powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government. It has specifically been mentioned that they may be given the responsibility of:-
    • Preparation of plans for economic development and Social Justice.
    • Implementation of Schemes as may be entrusted to them, and
    • In regard to matters listed in the 12th Schedule. This Schedule Contains 18 items, e.g., Urban Planning, Regulation of Land Use, Roads and Bridges, Water Supply, Public Health, Fire Services Urban Forestry, Slums etc.
  • A State Legislature may by law authorize a Municipality to levy, Collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls etc.
  • The law may lay down the limits and prescribe the procedure to be followed. It Can also assign to a Municipality Various taxes, duties etc. Collected by the State Government.
  • Grants-in-aid may be given to the Municipalities, from the Consolidated Fund of the State.


  • Municipality:The municipalities are established for the administration of towns and smaller cities. They are known by various other names like municipal council, municipal committee, municipal board, borough municipality, city municipality and others. In composition they are quite similar to municipal corporations except that head of council is called President /chairman and in place of commissioner they have a chief executive officer/chief municipal officer.
  • Municipal Corporation: Municipal corporations are created for the administration of big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and others. A Municipal Corporation has three authorities namely, the council (legislative wing of the corporation), the standing committee (to facilitate the working of the council) and the commissioner (chief executive authority of the corporation).The council consist of councillors directly elected by people and is headed by a Mayor while the Commissioner is appointed by state government and is generally an IAS officer.
  • Town Area Committee:It is set up by a separate act of state legislature for the administration of a small town. It is a semi-municipal authority entrusted with limited number of civic functions. It may be wholly elected or wholly nominated or partly elected and partly nominated as provided by state government.
  • Notified Area Committee: A notified area committee is created for the administration of two types of areas- a fast developing town due to industrialisation, and a town which does not yet fulfill all the conditions necessary for the constitution of a municipality, but which otherwise is considered important by the state government. It is called so because it is created by a notification and unlike the municipality it is an entirely nominated body, i.e. all members, including the Chairman, are nominated by the state government. Thus, it is neither a statutory body (created by law) nor an elected body.
  • Cantonment Board:It is established for municipal administration for civilian population in the cantonment areas (area where military forces and troops are permanently stationed). It is set up under the provisions of the Cantonment Act, 2006 by central government and works under Defence ministry of central government. It is partly elected and partly nominated body having the Military officer commanding the station as its ex-officio President. Vice president is elected amongst by the elected members of board. The executive officer of the cantonment board is appointed by the President of India.,
  • Port Trust:The port trusts are established in the port areas like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and so on for two purposes: (a) to manage and protect the ports; (b) to provide civic amenities. It is created by an Act of Parliament and it consists of both elected and nominated members.
  • Township:It is established by large public enterprises to provide civic amenities to its staff and workers, who live in the housing colonies built near the plant. It is not an elected body and all members, including the town administrator, is appointed by the enterprise itself.
  • Special Purpose Agency:The states have set up certain agencies to undertake designated activities or specific functions that legitimately belong to the domain of municipal corporations, municipalities or other local urban governments. In other words, these are function based, not area based. They are known as ‘single purpose’, ‘uni-purpose’ or ‘special purpose’ or ‘functional local bodies’ like town improvement trust, housing boards, pollution control boars etc. They are established as statutory bodies by an act of state legislature or as departments by an executive resolution. They function as an autonomous body and are not subordinate agencies to local municipal bodies.



Indian Polity

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