End of Tenure of Corporation has its Consequential Effect of End of Term of Office of Councillor: Supreme Court 

End of Tenure of Corporation has its Consequential Effect of End of Term of Office of Councillor: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that the end of the tenure of Corporation has its consequential effect of the end of the term of the office of the Councillor

Background 

By way of the appeal, the appellant has questioned the order whereby, the High Court of Judicature at Bombay has dismissed the writ petition filed by him while asserting his capacity as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of respondent, Pune Municipal Corporation and seeking the relief essentially to the effect that irrespective of expiry of the term of the Corporation, the Standing Committee shall nevertheless continue to function and the order issued by the Government, appointing an Administrator, does not forbid the Standing Committee from functioning in accordance with the provisions of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, 1949.

Arguments 

Senior Counsel appearing for the appellant contended that the constitution and term of the Standing Committee is governed by Section 20 of the Act of 1949 and, when the prescription therein is compared with the provisions in relation to the other Committees like the Transport Committee in Section 25 and the Wards Committee in Section 29A, the striking feature is that while the term or period of existence of those Committees or its Member-Councillors are limited or co-terminus with the duration of Corporation, there is no such corresponding provision in Section 20. 

Senior counsel for the contesting respondents submitted that the Transport Committee and Wards Committee being composed of Councillors as also other members, specific provisions for limiting their term was required to be made. 

He contended that no such provision was required to be made for the Standing Committee because of the fundamental fact that the Standing Committee, in terms of sub-section (1) of Section 20, consists only of Councillors as its members (16 in number).

Decision 

The division bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice J.K. Maheshwari said that when it is apparent that the duration of the Corporation itself is for a period of five years and no longer, as per the mandate of Article 243U(1) of the Constitution of India, duly reflected in Section 6 of the Act of 1949; and the term of the office of Councillors has specifically been provided to be co-terminus with the duration of Corporation in Section 6A of the Act of 1949; and then, the Standing Committee is to be consisting of “sixteen Councillors”, it unable to find any logic in the submissions made by the counsel for the appellant that even if the term of the Corporation comes to an end and even when the term of office of the Councillors comes to an end yet, the Standing Committee as existing on the date of completion of the terms of Corporation and Councillors shall continue to be in office until composition of the new Committee after elections.

The court observed that when no person could be said to be holding the office of the Councillor after completion of the term in view of the mandate of Sections 6 and 6A of the Act of 1949, it follows as a necessary corollary that the Standing Committee stands dissolved along with the completion of the term of the Corporation.

It was stated that the provision of Section 452 essentially operates in relation to the contingency where the State Government takes the steps for dissolution of the existing Corporation after opportunity of show cause upon being satisfied that the Corporation is not competent to perform the duties imposed upon it or is persistently making default or is abusing its powers.

It was further observed that Sub-sections (1A) and (1B) of Section 452A of the Act, deal with a specific peculiar contingency where general elections could not be held during the time specified by the enactment even after the expiry of the term of the Corporation, essentially due to COVID-19 pandemic situation. 

The court added that appointing an Administrator in such a contingency does not and cannot override the mandate of Article 243U of the Constitution of India as also the provisions of Sections 6 and 6A of the Act as regards the tenure.

Case title: Hemant Narayan Rasne v/s The Commissioner and Administrator of Pune Municipal Corporation & Ors.

Citation: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7685/2022

Click here to  read the Order/Judgment 

JurisHour
JurisHour
JurisHour is the fastest online portal for Indian legal news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *