A Letter to the Governor by Forum for Good Governance

Governor AP and Telangana

To

Hon’ble Sri.E.S.L. Narasimhan,

The Governor for the State of Telangana & State of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad

26th April 2018

Respected Sir,

Sub:- Amendment to Municipal Act-Passed by Legislative of Telangana on 29-03-2018 – Not to give assent-Request – reg.

The Telangana Municipal Laws (Amendment) bill 2018 was passed by State Legislature and sent to the Hon’ble Governor for his assent. In this connection the Forum for Good Governance would like to bring to your kind notice the following objections.

  1. The Bill empowers the government to have control over the State Election Commission regarding conduct of elections. The State Election Commission has to necessarily obtain permission from the state government to conduct elections to Municipalities.
  2. The justification of the Government is, in case of shortage of Drinking water, Agricultural season, important festivals and exams to students etc., it is difficult for the administrative machinery to assist the State Election Commission to conduct elections, as such government should  have power to fix the timing to conduct the elections.
  3. Article 324 of Constitution of India stipulates ” The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls  for, and the conduct of all elections to Parliament and to state legislature shall be vested  with the Election  Commission of India. It is the Election Commission which announces the programme of  elections.

Supreme Court of India in Kishan Singh Tomar V/s. Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad and others ( A.R.R 2007,S.C.269) has clarified that the powers of State Election  Commission are the same as Election Commission of India.

  1. Article 243 ZA of Constitution of India Stipulates” The Superintendence direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Municipalities shall be vested  in the State Election Commission.
  2. The amendments proposed in the ” Telangana Municipal Laws ( Amendment) bill 2018 will give unlimited powers to stat government regarding the timing of the conduct of elections to Municipalities. The justification shown like exams to school children, festivals etc. for deciding the dates for Municipal elections could be an excuse to usurp the powers of Election Commission.
  3. There are, already many instances where state government did not co-operate with the State Election Commission for conducting Municipal Elections to GHMC which were due in 2014. Forum for Good Governance filed PIL (No.3/2015) in High Court and on Court ordered the elections to GHMC.
  4. If the Hon’ble Governor gives his assent to the Telangana Municipal Laws ( Amendment) bill 2018 the independence of State Election Commission will be taken away.
  5. The said bill violates the spirit of the Constitution and hence needs to be returned.

Yours sincerely,

Padmanabha Reddy,

Secretary, Forum for Good Governance.