An Overview of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

An Overview of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

Amendments are an important part of constitution. Our framers of the constitution had written a constitution way back in the year 1949 and that constitution came to force on 26th January.1950. Now with the change in times, the provisions given in the constitution has to be changed or new provisions must be added keeping in mind the welfare of the society. These alterations of the constitution of India are known as amendments. Today we will discuss about the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act also known as 74th CAA.

The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act was passed in December month of the year 1992. The former president of India Shri Shnakar Dayal Sharma gave consent on the bill on 20th April,1993. This Act came to force on 1st June,1993. By the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, part IXA was added to the constitution of India and this amendment also added 12th schedule to the constitution. This amendment gave the power for setting up the Urban Local Government or City Government like nagar panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporation in the cities and towns. This initiative was taken in order to enhance the development of the urban areas. This act decentralized the powers of the center to the local government bodies.

Now we will look into some of the provisions mentioned in the act

  1. Article 243Q of the constitution provides for the formation of o urban local bodies. Urban local bodies are divided into three types- Nagar panchayats, municipal council or municipality and municipal corporation. All of these three types of urban local bodies are classified based on the population of the town or city. Nagar panchayats are formed with a minimum population of eleven thousand (11,000) to a maximum population of twenty-five thousand (25,000). Nagar panchayats are actually those local bodies which are recently developed from a village to a town. They are also called as municipal board. Next comes the municipality or the municipal council, also known as Nagar Palika. Municipality is formed with a population ranging between one hundred thousand (100,000) to one million (1,000,000). However, of the population crosses over twenty-five thousand (25,000) municipalities are formed. And the last are the municipal corporations or Nagar Nigam. These are the local governing bodies which has a very large population exceeding 1 million (1,000,000). The municipal corporations are found in very large cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru etc.
  2. It told that the Urban local bodies are to be elected directly by the local people of the area for a period of five years. The term is held from the beginning of the first meeting after the newly formed municipal committee to the exact date after five years. The elections are governed by the Election Commission of India. This provision is mentioned in article 243U of the constitution.
  3. This Act constituted that there will be a reservation of one-third of the committee for the women. The women must be a part in running of urban local government. They have to be a part in order to recognize women safety in that locality.
  4. The Urban local bodies are given powers to legislate and form new schemes in order to develop the locality. The new schemes that are taken are built to enumerate social justice and economic development. In other words, the constitution gave powers to the urban local bodies the power to form laws for its locality but only for the development of the locality. This specific power is given to the urban local government in article 243W of the Indian constitution.
  5. The State legislature can assign new types of taxes, tolls, duties, permits in order to maintain these urban local bodies.

These were the major provisions which were mentioned under this act. Article 243P defines metropolitan area as a place where the population exceeds 1 million (1,000,000). This is referred to as municipal corporation or Nagar Nigam. According to article 243S of the constitution of India, there is a provision of forming wards in a locality. Every urban local bodies are to be constituted of one or more wards. Thus, this article provides for the formation of ward committees.

Now we will talk about the eighteen functions that are mentioned in the twelfth schedule of the Constitution of India. These functions are as follows:

1. There must be a proper urban planning including town planning. This means the urban local bodies must do a proper planning in order to properly develop the city o the town.
2. There must be a proper land management for the proper construction of buildings and structures. It is the duty of urban local body to effectively manage the land in order that no land is left wasted or unproductive.
3. The urban local bodies must provide for proper plans in order to do economic and social development.
4. These local governing bodies must build proper roads and bridges for a better communication.
5. The bodies must do a proper water supply for the domestic, industrial and institutional purposes.
6. These bodies must provide for proper health service.
7. The bodies must arrange for fire services.
8. The bodies must secure urban forestry and protection of wildlife.
9. The bodies must safeguard the interest of the weaker sections of the society.
10. There must be a proper slum development and upgradation that helps to enhance the positions of the BPL people.
11. The bodies must ascertain for the removal of poverty in its constituency.
12. The bodies must build amenities like parks, gardens and playgrounds.
13. The bodies must promote the educational and cultural aspects of that place.
14. The bodies must provide for proper burial grounds and crematoriums.
15. The bodies must keep records of the birth and death of that locality.
16. The bodies must construct and provide amenities like bus stops, parking lots and street lighting.
17. There must be a regulation in slaughter houses and tanneries.
18. The bodies must ascertain that there must be no cruelty to the animals.

According to article 243Z, the accounts of the municipality are to be checked and audited every year in accordance to the provisions in the state law. According to article 243ZA there is provision for superintendence, direction and control of the electoral rolls of that locality. Article 243ZB makes provisions for the applicability of this amendment to the union territories as well. Article 243ZC talks about the non-applicability of this amendment in some areas like the scheduled areas referred in article 244 of the constitution like Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and some areas covered under Darjeeling Gorkha hill council.

Now for the critical analysis we have to understand article 12 of the Indian constitution. The article 12 defines ‘state’. According to the definition ‘State’ refers to –(i) Government of India and the parliament (ii) Government and state legislature (iii)local authorities (iv) other authorities. This local government defines all the governing bodies that helps in upbringing of a locality or a society like the village panchayats, municipal board, municipality and municipal corporation. The term local authority is described in section 3(31) of the General Clauses Act. Thus, from the critical analysis it is found that the urban local bodies fall under ‘State’ according to article 12.

Amendments are really necessary for the betterment of a society and locality. The amendment of 1992 or the 74th Constitutional amendment helped to form local governing bodies in order to develop and enhance a locality in which we live. It is impossible for central or state government to monitor every locality. Thus, this amendment is brought in the parliament and added a whole new system in proper governance of the country.

Author: Sattwik Biswas,
2nd Year BBA LLB under IFIM Law School, Bangalore

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