January 29, 2017 1:56:51 am
THE Bombay High Court has directed the Pimpri- Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and other corporations in the state to take action against corporators who failed to conduct regular Prabhag Sabhas. The two judge bench gave this order while disposing off a public interest petition filed by erstwhile Swaraj Abhiyan and now Shiv Sena leader Maruti Bhapkar. Prabhag Sabhas have been incorporated in the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act 2013 as means to increase people’s participation in matters related to the wards. Failure to hold such meetings could lead to disqualification of the ward corporators. By law, four such sabhas have to be conducted in each ward per year.
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Bhapkar, along with another Swaraj Abhiyan leader Capt Naryandas Minotra, had moved the high court seeking action against corporators who failed to take such meeting. While corporators in PCMC have managed to take a single such meeting since 2012, other corporations have fared even worse. “Our RTI queries to the 23 corporations showed that none of the corporators had taken any such meeting in their respective wards,” he said.
Along with seeking disqualification, their request before the high court also included directions to be given to the government to set up rules on how to conduct such meetings. A Prabhag Sabha is headed by the elected corporator, who is the president, while the civic officer is the secretary of the sabha.
The high court in its order on January 12 has asked the PCMC to look into the complaint of non functional nature of the Prabhag Sabhas within the next four weeks. Similar instructions have been given to other municipal corporations too.
During his tenure as an independent corporator, Bhapkar had sown the seed of area sabhas and taken people into confidence before taking any major decision. His model was studied by Delhi Chief Minsiter Arvind Kejriwal, who also implemented the same in the national capital. Holding of such meetings has been made mandatory in Maharashtra.
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