The UPA government’s move to hand over Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to Government of Delhi has been challenged in Delhi High Court. In a civil petition filed by Advocate VP Sharma sought direction to the respondent, the Chief Secretary of Union Home Ministry, to direct to withdraw the Home Ministry’s nod to the Government of Delhi to control MCD or to segregate the control of some of the departments already under the control of the MCD.
“Rather the respondent may kindly be directed to direct the Delhi Government to transfer Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Transport Corporation, Fire, Cleanliness of Yamuna River etc. in which the Delhi Government has miserably failed. This act of the Home Ministry will be in national interest as the international games are to be held almost after a year in Delhi and the heavy burden taken over by the Government of Delhi because of taking additional control of MCD will thwart the project of Delhi and national honour will be staked in the eyes of thousands of visitors coming from nook and corner of the world,” the petition said.
The petition alleged that no opinion of the elected representatives i.e. Councillors of MCD has been sought by the Home Ministry which is the arbitrary and unconstitutional action infringing the fundamental rights of the elected representatives. Since Article 74 of the Constitution of India provides that such civic bodies should be strengthened for furthering public interest hence the contravention of Article 74 at the part of the Home Ministry is against law of public justice. “There are two more civic bodies i.e. New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Cantonment Board which exist in Delhi, the Home Ministry has not cared and dared to touch them for taking their control by the Government of Delhi and the present act of the Home Ministry is not only discriminatory but is also politically motivated to out throw the elected members of the BJP, which is the opposition party to the Congress-I,” the petition said.
The petition further said that before sending a note to the Government of Delhi the Home Ministry has put the cart before the horse, which is in contravention of Article 311 of the Constitution of India, where the MCD should have been asked as to why its control or segregating some of its departments should not be transferred to the Government of Delhi. Hence, the act of the Home Ministry is unconstitutional and unjust. “The state does not have any parameter to estimate the work done by the MCD so how can Smt. Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi, claimed that the working of the MCD has been below expectations and inefficient,” the petition said.
This is fact that about one third population of Delhi dwells in unauthorised colonies and jhuggi jhopri clusters and the same are being tackled by the MCD and if the powers pertaining to these unauthoriesd colonies are vested in Delhi government, the pace of progress of these colonies will not only be hampered but it will be additional burden on Delhi government, which has utterly failed in the completion of the already projects in hands. The poor records of Delhi Jal Board, PWD, and Electricity Department clearly point out that the Government of Delhi headed by Smt Dikshit has miserably failed in performing its duties. So it will be an administrative collapse if the MCD is brought under the control of Delhi Government.
“Instead of taking control over the MCD by the Delhi Government, it would be ideal if Delhi was given the status of full statehood with enormous powers inclusive of the control of law and order through police and this demand for full statehood has been raised by the majority of electorates of Delhi since 1958, the petition said.
Smt Dikshit has been persistently pressing the Home Ministry for seeking control over Delhi police, which is genuine demand, but seeking segment of powers over the MCD is not a proper demand. As the Constitution of India under Article 74 provides for the encouragement of different organisations such as they are in Delhi like Cantonment Board, New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Municipal Corporation of Delhi for the segmenting of powers and duties to facilitate work. The MCD is currently an autonomous body functioning under the Centre and was constituted under the Municipal Corporation Act 1957, by the Parliament.
In case this proposal is carried into execution, the MCD will be under Delhi Government, whereas Home Ministry will continue to be the Supreme Authority. In this way the performance of MCD will be divided between three different authorities with different pedestals, the petition said.