Case Study of Municipal Corporation of Delhi

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  • The municipal corporations in the city are divided into two wings:- deliberative and executive.
  • The deliberative wing is involved in policymaking and comprises of elected councillors, their house (general body) and statutory committees.
  • The executive wing headed by the municipal commissioner executes these policies and provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, for the housekeeping of Delhi.
  • There are 12 administrative zones, each headed by a deputy commissioner.
  • The chain of command runs from the commissioner, additional commissioners to department directors and deputy commissioners at zonal level.

The Union Ministry of Law and Justice recently notified the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022. It seeks to amend the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 passed by Parliament. According to the new Act, the three MCDs—East Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation—will be merged into one and called the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). 

Rationale behind the act:

  • Unequal Resource Distribution: A financial crisis has been noticed after trifurcation in the civic bodies. The South Delhi municipal corporation body is considered as taxation zones that paid higher property taxes. The North body, on the other hand, got more un-authorized and lower taxation category colonies, which pay less tax, or not at all.
  • Stress on Municipalities: The trifurcation tripled the number of officers, increased costs and resulted in unequal distribution of assets and liabilities. The North Corporation is struggling with a deficit of over Rs 1,300 crore and East of around Rs 800 crore.
  • Rising Discontent: Safai karamcharis, medical staff, healthcare workers, engineers, doctors and nurses have gone off the streets since 2015 at least 50 times, in protest against salary delays, bonuses and cashless medical cards.


  • Powers of the Delhi government: The 2011 Amendment gave numerous powers to the Delhi government. This included deciding the total number of seats of councillors, number of seats reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes, division of the area of corporations into zones and wards, delimitation of wards etc. However these powers would now be exercised by the Union Government.
  • Number of councillors: The earlier Act provided that the number of seats in the three corporations taken together should not be more than 272. The amended act states that the total number of seats in the new Corporation should not be more than 250.
  • Removal of Director of Local Bodies: The earlier Act provided for a Director of Local Bodies to assist the Delhi government and discharge certain functions which include: (a) Coordinating between Corporations; (b) Framing recruitment Rules for various posts, and (c) Coordinating the collection and sharing of toll tax collected by the respective Corporations. The amended Act omits the provision for a Director of Local Bodies.
  • e-governance system for citizens: The amended Act adds some obligatory functions of the new corporation. This will include establishing an e-governance system for citizen services on an anytime-anywhere basis for better, accountable, and transparent administration.

Some constitution experts have argued that the Union Government has overlooked Part IXA of the Constitution. It specifically states that it will be the Legislature of the State that will be empowered to make laws concerning representation to the municipalities.  The argument of the Centre that Article 239AA can be applied over and above Part IXA of the Constitution does not hold good as the latter is a specific law that will override the general law relatable to Article 239AA.

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