In a double blow for the administration as well as the ruling and opposition parties in the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), the Bombay High Court stayed the nomination proceedings approved by the general body in context to the appointment of co-opted members in the civic body.
Notably, the state government’s urban development department has already put on hold the nominations and the formation of various committees till further directions.
Government guidelines issued in 2012 clearly states that people aspiring for co-opted seats should be non-political individuals having two years’ experience as commissioner, five years as assistant commissioner, five years’ experience of a social organization or should be lawyers, engineers, experts or doctors.
However it has been alleged that rules were brazenly bent in the general body meeting to offer backdoor entries to office bearers of local political parties, self-styled politicians owing their loyalties to the ruling governance.
In response to a petition filed in this context by local resident Nitesh Mungekar, the divisional bench of the Bombay High Court stayed the appointments on Friday.
While resolutions mooting names of BJP candidates Anil Bhosale, Bhagwati Sharma, Ajit Patil and Adv. S.A Khan (Congress) had cleared the decks in the meeting held via video conferencing early this month, the candidature of Shiv Sena’s Vikram Pratap Singh hit the roadblock due to objections by the BJP members alleging charges of conflict of interest.
“The norms for co-opted members is aimed at increasing the active participation of distinguished social workers and professionals in the transparent functioning of civic bodies. However, here in MBMC all rules were violated. I am glad the judiciary has taken cognizance,” said former municipal corporator Dr. Asif Shaikh.
Nearly 39 months after the BJP took over reins of the MBMC by claiming majority in the August 2017 civic polls, the process for nominating co-opted members had finally taken shape amid controversy and judicial knots.
Members are co-opted according to the strength of each party in the house. "The general body has approved candidatures of contenders, but the process is validated only after the gazette notification," said an official. Although co-opted members do not have voting rights, they can participate in debates and raise issues in the civic house.