Bill in Lok Sabha to merge three municipal corporations of Delhi

New Delhi, Mar 25 (PTI) A bill to merge the three municipal corporations in the national capital into a single entity was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday amid opposition claims that the move was beyond the legislative competence of Parliament.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai introduced the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, dismissing the claims made by the opposition.

Rai said Article 239AA gave Parliament the right to make laws with respect to any matter of Union Territory.

RSP member N K Premachandran, Congress members Gaurav Gogoi and Manish Tewari, BSP member Ritesh Pandey opposed the introduction of the bill contending that Parliament lacked the legislative competence to amend the Bill.

Premachandran said the Bill to trifurcate the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was passed by the Delhi Assembly and it was beyond the domain of Parliament to pass a law to merge the civic bodies.

Gogoi claimed that the move by the Centre to merge the three municipal corporations into one through a law of Parliament was an attack on the federal structure of the constitution.

He also questioned the rationale behind capping the number of seats in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi at 250, contending that the same should be decided after taking into account the population of the national capital.

Pandey said that the Constitution granted powers to states to constitute municipal corporations.

The Bill states that the 2011 trifurcation of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi was uneven in terms of territorial divisions and revenue-generating potential.

At present, the three corporations in Delhi -- North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations -- have a total of 272 seats. While North and South corporations have 104 seats each, the East corporation has 64.

The bill has a provision that the Central Government may, "if necessary", appoint a person to be called the "Special Officer", to exercise the power and discharge the functions of the Corporation until the date on which the first meeting of the body is held after the commencement of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022.