The Biography Of Greater Chennai Corporation
Sir Josiah Child, one of Directors of the East India Company was responsible for the formation of the Corporation, on the model of the Dutch Government in the East Indies. On 29th September 1688, the Corporation was inaugurated with powers to decide petty cases, levy rates upon the inhabitants for building of schools, a Town Hall and a Jail. Mr. Nathaniel Higginson was nominated as First Mayor with 12 altermen and sixty burgesses.
The Parliamentary Act of 1792 gave the Company, the power to levy the municipal taxes, in the City and the Acts of 1836, 1841, 1856, 1863, 1867, 1878, 1884, 1892, 1904 and 1919 introduced many changes in the Constitution and powers of the Corporation. The Amendment Acts of 1936, 1947, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1968 and 1973 gradually increased the number of divisions to 150 and provided various statutory Committees.
The Office of the Corporation was functioning in a building in Errabalu Chetty Street. It was only in 1913 that the Corporation moved its offices to its present imposing building, the Ripon Buildings, named after Lord Ripon, the Viceroy, who introduced local self-government in India in the last quarter of the nineteenth Century.
Till 1974 the responsibility for planning of the city was vested with the Municipal Corporation. After the formation of the Madras Metropolitan Development Authority in August, 1974, under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1972, the task of planning for the city and the greater Metropolitan area has been taken over by the said Authority.
The Council ceased to function under elected body with effect from 01.12.1973 and a Special Officer was appointed by the Government of Tamil Nadu to exercise the powers and functions of the Council and the Standing Committees. The executive authority is vested with the Commissioner who is assisted by Additional Commissioners,Joint Commissioners,Regional Depty Commissioners ,Deputy Commissioners various Heads of Departments and 15 Circle Officers at present.
Constitution of Council
Prior to 1950 and subsequently there after until 1973 by which time the Council was dissolved, the term of elected Members of the Council was 3 years. In those periods the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor were elected once in a year by the Members of the Council. Further the office of the Mayor was held by the persons so elected by rotation based on Caste/ Religion.
The Council of the Greater Chennai Corporation was dissolved by the State Government on 01-12-1973. Subsequently the Government, as per the provisions of the Act appointed Special Officers’ to carry out the functions of the Council and various Standing Committees. After a long spell of 23 years, the Government have conducted elections to the civic body during October 1996. Further the Government have also amended the act pursuant to the provisions Nagar Paliga Act. By
this, the Mayor of the Corporation will be elected by the citizens of Chennai city as a whole in public election and also the term of office of the Mayor as well as Councillors will be 5 years from the date of such election. However, the Deputy Mayor will be elected from among the members of the Council whose tenure will be 5 years. The city of Chennai is at present consisting 200 divisions and each division is represented by one Member besides the Mayor as a whole.
For the efficient performance and the functioning of Corporation, in accordance with the provisions of the act there shall be the following authorities of the Corporation to man the administration namely.
- a Council
- a Mayor
- Standing Committees
- Ward Committees
- a Commissioner
The Government have also constituted the following Six Standing Committees besides one Appointment Committee in addition to the Ward Committees for each Zone.
- Standing Committee (Accounts)
- Standing Committee (Education)
- Standing Committee (Public Health)
- Standing Committee (Town Planning)
- Standing Committee (Works)
- Standing Committee (Taxation & Finance)
The Standing Committees shall consist 15 Members each elected by the Members of the Council in a Meeting specially convened for that purpose and the Chairman of each Standing Committee shall be elected from among the members of such Committee. The Mayor shall be the ex-officio member of every Standing Committee constituted under the provisions of the Act.
Besides the Standing Committees, there shall be an Appointment Committee consisting the Mayor as the Chairman and the Commissioner and Two members of the Council as members [Sec. 85 (c) of the CCMC Act, 1919].
Appointments to all posts included in Class III and in Class IV and to all other posts not so included shall be made by the Appointments Committee consisting of the Mayor, the Commissioner and two Councilors elected by the council, which shall be established for the corporation subject to the by-laws, if any, made by the Council.
There shall be Ward Committees in every Zone in which the Councillors of respective Zones shall be the members who will elect one among them as the Chairman of Ward Committee.
The tenure of the Members as well as Chairman of all the Committees shall be 5 years from the date of election.
In addition to the above Committees the Government have also constituted Joint Committees under the Chairmanship of Mayor to enable the Civic administration to redress the grievances of the general public in various fields such as water supply & drainage, slum clearance, fire services and MMDA. Those Joint Committees shall also be represented by limited members of the Council besides officials and they will meet in specific intervals under the Chairmanship of Mayor.
Business Advisory Committee
For solving the important issues raised in the Council, Business Advisory Committee was formed under the Chairmanship of the Mayor. It will meet whenever the Chairman desires.
Conduct of Meetings (Schedule II of CCMC Act 1919)
The Council shall meet in the Municipal Office for the transaction of the business atleast once in every month, upon such day and such hour fixed by the Mayor. The Notice of the day and hour when the meeting is to be held and the business to be transacted there at, shall be give to the members besides, the notice of the day and hour of the meeting shall be notified in local news papers.
In case of urgency the Mayor may convene a Special Meeting after giving to the Members shorter notice as stipulated in the Act. The agenda of the meeting of the Council shall be prepared by the Mayor and the agenda for the Standing Committees shall be prepared by the Commissioner in consultation with the Chairman of the Standing Committees.
The Mayor shall call a Special Meeting on receiving a request in writing signed by 1/5th of the sanctioned strength of the Council. No special Meeting shall be conducted unless atleast 4 clear days notice specifying the purpose for which such meeting is to be held.
Each Standing Committees shall meet at the Municipal office atleast once in a month and the Chairman of the respective Committees shall preside over the meeting, likewise each Ward Committee shall meet in the Zonal office once in a month and the Zonal Officer will arrange for such meetings.
The subjects that may come before the Council, Standing Committee or Ward Committee shall be decided by the majority of the Members present and voting.
All the Minutes of Proceedings of the Council shall be entered in a book called Minutes Book, which shall be signed by the Mayor after each meeting, likewise the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Committees shall be entered in a Book and signed by the Chairman (or) Presiding Member of such Committee.
Functions of The Council Sec. 23 of CCMC Act, 1919
- Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Municipal Government of the city shall vest in the Council, but the Council shall not be entitled to exercise functions expressly assigned by or under this Act or any other law to Standing Committee or the Commissioner.
- If any doubt arises as to the municipal authority to which any particular function pertains, the Mayor shall refer the matter to the State Government whose decision shall be final.
- Without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1), it shall be the duty of the Council to consider all periodical statements of receipts and disbursements and all progress reports and pass such resolutions thereon as it thinks fit.
Duties and Powers of Individual Councillors Sec. 25 of CCMC Act, 1919
- Any Councillor may call the attention of the proper authority to any neglect in the execution of municipal work, to any waste of municipal property, or to the wants of any locality, and may suggest any improvements which he considers desirable.
- Every Councillor shall have the right to interpolate the Mayor on matters connected with the municipal administration subject to such regulations as may be framed by the once Council.
- Every Councillor shall have access during office hours to the records of the Corporation after giving due notice to the Commissioner, provided that the Commissioner may for reasons given in writing forbid such access. The Councillor may appeal against such order to the Mayor whose decision shall be final.
Commissioner when to Attend Meetings Sec.33 of CCMC Act, 1919
- The Commissioner shall have the right to attend the meetings of the Council and of any standing committee, Wards Committee or other Committee constituted under this Act and to take part in the discussion but shall not have the right to move any resolution or to vote.
- The Commissioner shall attend any meeting of the Council or [of a Standing Committee, Wards Committee any other committee constituted under this Act, if required to do so by the Mayor or the Chairman of the Committee as the case may be.
The Mayor May Obtain Report Sec.37 of CCMC Act, 1919
The Mayor may obtain report from the Commissioner on any connected with the administration of the Corporation.
Mayor To Be Member of All Committees Sec.38 of CCMC Act, 1919
- The Mayor shall be a ex-officio member of [every standing committee, wards committee and of every other committee constituted under the Act except the Taxation Appeals Committee, but shall not be eligible to be elected as the Chairman of any Standing Committee or Wards Committee.
- If the Mayor is at the time of his election the Chairman or an elected member of a standing committee or wards committee, he shall cease to hold office as such chairman or member.
- If a vacancy occurs in the office of Chairman of [any standing committee or wards committee], the Mayor shall convene a meeting of that committee for the election of another chairman and the chairman elected at such meeting shall be entitled to hold office as such only so long as the person in whose place he is elected would have been entitled to hold it if the vacancy had not occurred.
Powers of The State Government
Sec. 43A. State Government’s power to remove Mayor, Deputy Mayor or Councillor convicted under Section 358A
- Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the State Government may, by notification, remove any Mayor, Deputy Mayor or councilor who is convicted twice of an offence punishable under Section 358-A.
- The State Government shall, when they propose to take action under sub section (1), give the Mayor, Deputy Mayor or Councillor concerned an opportunity to explain and the notification issued under the said sub-section shall contain a statement of the reasons of the State Government for the action taken.
- Any person removed under sub-section (1) from the office of Mayor, Deputy Mayor or Councillor, as the case may be, shall not be eligible for election to the said office until the date on which notice of the next ordinary election to the corporation is published in the prescribed manner or the expiry of one year from the date specified in such notification, whichever is earlier.
State Government’s Power to Dissolve The Corporation Sec. 44-A of CCMC Act, 1919
- If, in the opinion of the State Government, the corporation is not competent to perform or persistently makes default in performing the duties imposed on it by law or exceeds or abused its powers, the State Government may, by notification.
- 1). dissolve the corporation from a specified date and
- 2). direct that the corporation be reconstituted with effect from a date which shall not be later than six months from the date of dissolution.
(1-A) An election to reconstitute the Corporation shall be completed before the expiration of a period of six months from the date of its dissolution.
- Before publishing a notification under sub-section (1), the State Government shall communicate to the corporation the grounds on which they propose to do so, fix a period of not less than thirty days for the corporation to show cause against the proposal and consider its explanations or objections, if any.
- Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall affect the office of the Commissioner.
- On the date fixed for the dissolution of the corporation under sub-section (1), all its members as well as the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor (including Councillors who are members of committees established or constituted by or under this act) shall forthwith be deemed to have vacated their offices [and the persons referred to in sub-section (2) of section 5 shall cease to be represented in the council and fresh elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions
of this Act
- Dissolution shall take effect from noon on the date of publication of the notification, if no date is therein specified, and thereupon the following consequences shall ensure:-
- All the members of the corporation as well as the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor (including councillors who are members of committees established or constituted by or under this Act) shall forthwith be deemed to have vacated their offices.
- All or any of the functions of the corporation, of the Mayor and of the committees established or constituted by or under this Act except the Taxation Appeals Committee may, during the period of dissolution, be exercised and performed, as far as may be, and to such extent as the State Government may determine by such person as the State Government appoint in that behalf and any such person, may, it the State Government so direct, receive payment for his services
from the municipal fund; the State Government may determine the relations of such person with themselves and may direct the commissioner to exercise and perform any powers and duties of the corporation and of the committees aforesaid except the Taxation Appeals Committee in addition to his own.
- All or any of the functions of Taxation Appeals Committee may, during the period of dissolution, be exercised and performed by the chairman of the said Committee.
- The State Government may reconstitute the corporation before the expiry of the period notified under sub-section.
- (7-A) All the newly elected councilors of the reconstituted corporation shall enter upon their offices on the date fixed for its reconstitution and they shall hold their offices only for the remainder of the period for which the dissolved corporation would have continued sub-section(1) of section 5-B, had it not been dissolved.
- When the corporation is dissolved under this section, the State Government until the date of the reconstitution thereof and the reconstituted corporation thereafter shall be entitled to all the assets and be subject to all the liabilities of the corporation as on the date of the reconstitution respectively.
Delegation of Power By The State Government Sec. 44AA of CCMC Act, 1919
The State Government may, by notification, direct that any power exercisable by it under this Act shall, subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the notification, be exercisable by the corporation or any of its officers or by the Commissioner or any other authority.