The Constitution (Seventy-Fourth Amendment) Act, 1992

FOCUS

The Constitution (Seventy-Fourth Amendment) Act, aimed at strengthening India’s ‘urban local bodies’, came into effect on April 20, 1993. It inserted Part IXA into the Constitution, which follows Part IX on the Panchayati Raj institutions. Part IXA consists of Articles 243(p)-243(zg) and the Twelfth Schedule.

This Act stipulates the creation of municipalities for different types of urban areas – nagar panchayats for transitional areas (rural to urban).; municipal councils for smaller areas, and municipal corporations for larger areas. It ensures democratic structures by mandating regular elections and a fixed tenure for members. The powers and responsibilities of these bodies are determined by the state legislature. 

    FACTOIDS

  1. How does the Act define metropolitan and municipal areas?
    Article 243P(c) says that a metropolitan area has a population of at least 10 lakhs, is comprised of one or more districts, and has at least two municipalities or panchayats. A municipal area (Article 243P[d]) refers to the territory of a given municipality; each municipal area is divided into smaller units called wards.

  2. Which are the ‘urban local bodies’ that can be constituted under the Act? 
    Based on population size and density, revenue, non-agricultural employment and other economic factors, the governor of a state specifies (through a public notification) what constitutes transitional, small urban and large urban areas. Each of these areas is governed by a municipality – a nagar panchayat, municipal council or municipal corporation, respectively. In case an area receives municipal services from an industrial establishment, that area is deemed to be an industrial township and no municipality is formed there.


    The state legislature can also make a provision for the formation of wards committees, district-level planning committees and metropolitan planning committees. A wards committee covers one or more wards in a municipal area with a population of at least 300,000 or more. A district-level planning committee consolidates the plans of the panchayats and the municipalities in a particular district. A metropolitan planning committee prepares a draft development plan for the metropolitan area as a whole.    

  3. How are municipalities formed? 
    While municipality members are directly elected in each ward, the state legislature may also suggest members. They can be resource people with specialised knowledge; Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha MPs; Legislative Assembly members with constituencies within the municipal area; and Legislative Council members registered as electors in the municipal area.

  4. What are the powers and functions of municipalities? 
    The powers and functions of the municipalities are determined by the state legislature. Municipalities can prepare plans for economic development and social justice, and implement schemes related to these matters and others in the Twelfth Schedule. The state legislature can authorise a municipality to levy taxes and receive funds, as well as audit their accounts.

  5. What is the tenure of a municipality? 
    A municipality works for five years from the date of its first meeting. Elections are held after five years or within six months of the dissolution of the municipality.

  6. Is there reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women in municipalities? 
    Proportional reservation of seats in municipalities is guaranteed to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). (That is, the ratio of the municipality’s reserved seats and the total number of seats is the same as the ratio of the SC/ST population and the municipal area’s total population.) The number of reserved seats can also be rotated among different constituencies of a municipality.


    Of these reserved seats, 33 per cent must be reserved for SC and ST women. The Act also says that no less than 33 per cent of a municipality’s total seats should be reserved for women. The state legislature determines the reservation for SCs, STs and women for the post of the municipality chairperson.

  7. Does this amendment to the Constitution apply to Scheduled Areas and union territories? 
    This amendment introduces Part IXA into the Constitution and its provisions do not apply to Scheduled Areas and tribal areas (Article 244). They shall also not affect the powers and functions of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. However, Parliament has the power to make a law that will extend the Act to Scheduled Areas and tribal areas.


    This amendment does apply to union territories (UTs), and the president can, through a public notification, clarify if any portion of Part IXA does not apply to a UT. 

    Factoids and Focus by Mansi Goyal.

AUTHOR

Ministry of Law and Justice

COPYRIGHT

Government of India, New Delhi

PUBLICATION DATE

29 Apr, 1993

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