MCC Civic Group Sends ‘Show Cause Notice’ to Officials regarding Ward Committees
Forming Ward Committees- a ‘Smart Thing’ to do for ‘Smart City’? MCC Civic Group now Sends ‘Show Cause Notice’ to Officials regarding Forming Ward Committees
Mangaluru: Following up on the press meet that was held on June 27 2017 pertaining to forming of Ward Committees by the members of MCC Civic Group, now four months later since no action had been taken up the concerned authorities in this regard, the Civic Group has now sent a “Shaw Cause” notice to -The Chief Secretary to the Govt. of Karnataka, Bengaluru; The Secretary to the Govt. of Karnataka, Department of Urban Development, Bengaluru; The Director, Directorate of Municipal Administration, Bengaluru; The Deputy Commissioner, D.K. District; and to The Commissioner, The Corporation of the City of Mangaluru.
Recalling the information given to the media persons during the June 27, 2017 press meet, where the lead member of MCC Civic Group-Nigel Albuquerque had said, ” MCC Civic Group is a public forum which is actively involved in creating awareness and taking up civic issues that require attention. The press meet was called to let know the public through the media that our Forum will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) for not forming the much-needed ward committees. It should be noted that Ward committees are a pre-requisite for cities, which have population over three lakhs, and the cities which come under the Smart City project. But unfortunately Mangalore City Corporation has failed to form ward committees in its 60 wards, in spite of many past reminders and protests from various activists of many organizations”.
File Photo of Press Meet dated Jun 27, 2017
“The reason MCC is not forming Ward Committees is because the Corporators are hand in hand with politicians so that they can pocket some extra money out of the crores of rupees sanctioned by the Central government under the Smart City project. The State of Karnataka mandated by Article 243 S of the Constitution of India (Section 13 H )of Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 clearly states that every municipal corporation has to form ward committees, before they take up any project on their own decision. But for that matter, Mangaluru City Corporation has ignored it. Without a Ward Committee, the involvement of public is locked. We had made repeated requests to MCC to have Ward Committees, but all in vain. Enough is enough with MCC, we can’t wait any longer, so we have decided to file a PIL against MCC, thereby start our legal battle for justice. We have requested the MCC repeatedly, but there is no response from them. So now, we will now begin a legal fight against the MCC.” which was added by Albuquerque.
Nigel had further said “MCC Commissioner had received a circular on 19 February 2017 from The Directorate of Municipal Administration, Karnataka requesting him to submit a report on KMC Act 1976. Reluctantly the commissioner has ignored the circular by not taking any action in forming ward committees. It should be noted that forming ward committees will lead to the active involvement of public in governance, and also to check into the transparency and accountability in local government offices. This is one of the main reasons why the corporators and the administration are reluctant in forming ward committees. In the nearest future we will file a PIL against the MCC pertaining to this issue”
As per 243 S Constitution and Composition of Wards Committees it clearly states that- There shall be constituted wards Committees, consisting of one ore more wards, within the territorial area of a Municipality having a population of three lakhs or more; The legislature of a State, by Law, make provision with respect to-a) the composition and the territorial of a Wards Committee; b) the manner in which the seats in the Wards Committee shall be filled; A member of a Municipality representing a ward within the territorial area of the Wards Committee shall be a member of that Committee.
Where awards Committee consists of -a) one Ward, the member representing that Ward in the Municipality; or b) two or more Wards, one of the members representing such Wards in the Municipality elected by the members of the Wards Committee, shall be the Chairperson of that Committee; Nothing in this article shall be deemed to prevent the Legislature of a state from making any provision for the Constitution of Committees in addition to the Wards Committee. Activists and Social workers namely Divya Dinker, Gerard Towers, Ajoy D’Silva and Padmanabha Ullal were present on the dais during that press meet
Since four months had passed and there has been no response or any action taken by the concerned authorities, MCC Civic group has now sent a “Show Cause Notice” by speed post with acknowledgement due-
As per latest information, it is learnt that the ward committee petition which applies statewide, hearing in the Karnataka High Court, Bengaluru is on Friday 8th December. MCC Civic Group is hoping that the ruling could be pushed to statewide inclusive of Mangaluru. And if this happens, then there’s no real need to file another petition forward committees in Mangaluru. Leo Saldanha – a representative in Bengaluru for this is trying to get representation from Mysore, Hubli, Dharwad etc- So that all Karnataka cities with a population of 3 L + benefit.
Following is the copy of the SC Notice, dated 16 November 2017:
1. The Chief Secretary to the Govt. of Karnataka, Vikasa Soudha, Bangalore – 560 001.
2. The Secretary to the Govt. of Karnataka, Department of Urban Development, Vikasa Soudha, Bangalore – 560 001.
3. The Director, Directorate of Municipal Administration, 9th Floor, Vishweshwarayya Tower, Dr. Ambedkar Veedhi, Bangalore – 560 001.
4. The Deputy Commissioner, D.K. District, Mangalore – 575 001.
5 The Commissioner, The Corporation of the City of Mangalore., Mangalore – 575 003.
Sub: Show Cause Notice issued on behalf of my clients namely .Mr. Nigel Albuquerque, Aged 43, S/o. Late Mr. A.J.G Albuquerque Permanently residing at : Archil Pais Gardens, Bejai Post, Mangalore-575004. Mr. Ajoy Dsilva, Aged 42 , S/o. Late Mr. Benedict D’silva Permanently residing at : Jasmine Gardens, Anegundi Road, Bejai Post, Mangalore -575004 – Reg.
Ref: Pre-litigation statutory legal notice dated 13-06-2017 issued on behalf of my clients namely .Mr. Nigel Albuquerque,  Mr. Ajoy Dsilva, seeking formation of Ward Committees in the 60 Wards of Corporation of the City of Mangaluru as stipulated under Sec. 13H of K.M.C Act, 1976
Under instructions from and on behalf of my above named clients, I, the undersigned counsel, do hereby issue the following notice to all of you individually and collectively as hereunder:
1. As you all are well aware, the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India inserted Article 243S into the Constitution. The sole objective behind this amendment was to strengthen the local bodies in the States as they had become weak and ineffective on account of variety of reasons, which included, inadequate devolution of powers, funds and functions. This resulted in the failure of Urban Local Bodies in their effective performance as vibrant democratic units of local self-government. This aspect has been expressly stated and can be inferred from statement of objects and reasons provided for the 74th amendment.
2. Article 243 S of the Indian Constitution provides for constitution of ‘Ward Committees’ in every municipality having population of three lakhs or more in order to ensure greater & direct citizen participation including that of weaker sections including women, in the local decision making. Clearly the concept was to render various services to the general public more efficiently, effectively without any lapses and to have better governance.
3. It is pertinent to note here that and it is hoped that, you all are well known to the fact that, the State Governments were mandated to incorporate the provisions of the 74th Amendment. It was the duty of the respective state government to provide the flesh, bones and muscles to lend life to the 74th Amendment according to the peculiarities of each region. It was also hoped that power would be devolved on the people by the process of de-centralization of power. Accordingly the state legislature has amended the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 (Karnataka Act 14 of 1977) [The Act for short] and a new chapter was introduced (Chapter IIIA) and the Sections 13A to 13L provide for (i) Constitution of Area Sabha’s and Ward Committees. (ii) Entrusting functions and duties to the Area Sabha and Ward Committees and (iii) Institutionalizing citizen participation. However, it is very saddening to know that, neither the State Government nor the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru has shown any interest in breathing life into Chapter IIIA of the K.M.C. Act, 1976 by way of successfully implementing the same and bring the Ward Committees and Area Sabhas into action.
4. It is further shocking to note that even after receiving repeated requests from the general public, directions from No. 3 of you, various directions from the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka in W.P no. 27439/2012 and various other cases and the Order passed in Lok Adalat held on 04-01-2014, and in spite of issuing the above referred legal notice, all of you, particularly, No. 5 of you have miserably failed in the formation of the ‘Ward Committees’ and ‘Area Sabhas’ within the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru. This has resulted in the violation of the constitutional right of the law abiding citizens of the city of Mangaluru.
5. Further, in order to shun away from the responsibility and duty of formation of ward committees, the Corporation of the City of Mangaluruhas formed a three member committee, in the name and style of ‘Sadana Samithi’ to study the pros and cons and to study the probable outcome, if the same is implemented in the jurisdictional wards of the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru and to give a report thereon. It is shocking to note here that neither Sec. 13H nor any other provision of the Act, or even the rules give | make provision for setting up of ‘Sadana Samithi’. This act of setting up ‘Sadana Samithi’ lacks legal sanctity and is Ultra Vires the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 as amended from time to time and the Constitution of India.
6. It is to be noted that nearly 24 years have passed since the 74th Amendment to the Constitution. The Government of Karnataka and the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru have not taken any steps to give effect to the letter and spirit of the 74th Amendment. The Corporation of the City of Mangaluru through various tactics has delayed the implementation of Sec. 13A to 13L and avoided the responsibility. On the other hand the Government of Karnataka has too shown soft corner to the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru for the reasons best known to it. This casts serious doubts and shadow over the intention of the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru and the State Government, if at all, they really intend to curb and prevent corrupt practises and aim at bringing about development to the city of Mangaluru.
7. Further, it is to be noted that Sec. 99 of the K.M.C Act, 1976 provides for the dissolution of the Corporation, if in the opinion of the Government, the Corporation has defaulted in the performance of any duty imposed on it or fails to carry out the directions or orders given by the government or is acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the Corporation, may dissolve it. The Constitution of India mandates the Corporation of the city of Mangaluru to form ‘Ward Committees’ and ‘Area Sabhas’ in the city of Mangaluru. In the ‘tippani’ dated 04-08-2017 sent by No. 3 of you to the Mayor of the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru, No. 3 of you have categorically admitted the receiving of various directions and orders from the Government of Karnataka and Orders and Directions of the High Court of Karnataka regarding forming of Ward Committees. But, the Corporation of the City of Mangalore has refused to form ‘Warm Committees’.
8. Under the circumstances, No. 5 of you is hereby required to show cause why the Corporation of the City of Mangalore should not be dissolved as it has violated the duties and orders and directions of the Government of Karnataka and as to why Contempt Petitions should not be filed against you for intentionally violating the orders and directions of the High Court of Karnataka and Further, No. 1 , 2, 3 and 4 of you are hereby required to show cause as to what is preventing you from exercising the powers conferred in you by section 99 of the K.M.C Act, 1976 within 15 days of receiving this notice. Failing which, my clients will be constrained to initiate appropriate legal actions and proceedings not limited to the following :
i. Filing of Writ Petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka for issuance of a writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other nature seeking formation of ‘Ward Committees’ and ‘Area Sabhas’ in the Corporation of City of Mangaluru;
ii. Filing of Writ Petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka for issuance of a Writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other nature seeking dissolution of the Corporation of the City of Mangaluru;
iii. Filing of Contempt Petition against no. 5 of you for intentionally and deliberately violating the orders and direction of the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka; entirely at yourselves risk and responsibility as to all costs and consequences jointly as well as severally, which please note.
9. This notice shall be treated and construed as a statutory notice for all intends and legal purposes. My clients further hope that all of you will treat this notice in its proper perspective and do the needful and oblige. Thanking you, Yours sincerely,
Nigel Albuquerque (Client) Ajoy D’silva (Client) Kumar Satyanarayan (Advocate)
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