Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the second largest civic body was trifurcated in the 2012 into South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation(NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation(EDMC).
SDMC is serving the population of almost 56 Lacs citizen with a responsibility of monitoring, upgrading and developing civic amenities efficiently with a view to create a better tomorrow for citizens of Delhi.
It occupies an area of 656.91 Sq. K.M. which is further sub- divided into 4 Zones- Central, South, West and Najafgarh Zone and has 104 wards.
SDMC also has unique distinction of providing civic services from highly posh residential and commercial areas to rural and urban villages, JJ Resettlement Colonies, regularized and unauthorized colonies. There are 388 Approved Colonies, 86 Rural villages, 81 Urbanized villages, 111 Unauthorized colonies, 252 Unauthorized regularized colonies and 32 JJ Resettlement Colonies.
The Head Quarter is located at SP Mukharjee Civic Centre, Minto Road, Delhi. There are two wings i.e. Deliberate Wing and Executive Wing.
The infrastructure of civic services set-up by the Emperor Shahjahan, the builder of the city, about 200 years prior to formation of the civic body in 1862, had outlived its utility even then. The work had, therefore, to be started from a mere scratch. MCD came into existence on 7th April, 1958 under an Act of Parliament. Since then, the Municipal Body has always been alive in its constitution and functioning to the growing needs of citizens. The Amendment of 1993 in the Act brought about fundamental changes in composition, functions, governance and administration of the Corporation.
The origin of civic administration in Delhi can be traced to the year 1862 when Delhi Municipal Commission came into existence. The first meeting of the Municipal Commission was held on 23rd April, 1863. At that time, the city was confined to an area of two square miles with 1.21 lac inhabitants; whereas now it has grown in size to nearly 1,400 sq. kms. with staggering estimated population of more than 127 lacs.
During 1863, the sanitation and conservancy system was set-up, public latrines were constructed; an Unani dispensary was opened in Sadar Bazar and for the first time, registration of births and deaths was introduced. A look at the budgetary provisions will not be a diversion but an interesting and educative exercise. Even at that time, the nascent civic body was beset with financial problems and sought assistance from the Government. Out of a total provision of Rs. 94,512, fifty percent was spent on police establishment. Octroi was the main source of income which generated Rs. 82,000; one sixth share of this was also diverted for military expenditure. Period between 1863 and 1874 saw small scale industrial and commercial expansion. Those responsible for public utilities, worked under severe constraints, and even sought loans to provide basic needs.
The Clock Tower and the Town Hall buildings were constructed in 1866 and the present building was reconstructed in 1947. Fire Fighting system was introduced in 1867 with one fire engine stationed at Kotwali. Another engine was brought from England after nine years. As the well water was not found fit for consumption, potable water was supplied through water carts in 1871-72. The proposal to set-up a water works was initiated in 1869.
The first street-lighting was introduced in 1870 with lantern and lamp-posts. Electricity came much later but before the Durbar event in 1911. Primary education was started in 1857 by taking over existing schools and opening new ones. Although gardens and horticulture has occupied the attention of the administration from the very beginning, mass plantation of 1600 saplings was done in 1875. During the same year, conservancy was further developed by introducing “ilaka” system. Each “ilaka” was entrusted to the care of a three-member committee.
Later, the Delhi municipal Commission was replaced by the ‘Delhi Municipal committee’ which functioned as the only civic body for about half a century and covered the whole of the urban area. This Municipality which consisted of 21 nominated members, six were government officers and the remaining were non-officials comprising three Europeans, six Hindus and six Muslims.
The democratic norm of election of members through adult franchise was first accepted in 1884 and consequently in the following year, the elections were held. The Committee, thus constituted, consisted of 4 government officials, 5 nominated and 12 elected members, representing the 12 wards. Delhi’s Deputy Commissioner was the ex-officio President of the Committee. The Act also had a provision of two-third members besides paid officials.
To raise much needed funds for drainage and other purposes House Tax was introduced for the first time from 1st January, 1902. This gave an income of Rs. 83,327 from 45,558 properties. Today MCD collects nearly Rs. 900 crores from about 7.5 lac units. The total income in 1902-03 was Rs. 6.24 lac and expenditure Rs. 9.25 lac. The sources were octroi, animal’s wheel tax, tolls, cattle ponds and hackney carriages.
The constitution of the Committee was further changed in 1912 at the time of creation of the Delhi Province and the number of ex-officio and elected members was brought down to three and 11 respectively. The number of nominated members was raised to eleven.
In the wake of establishment of the temporary capital of the Government of India in Civil Lines, Delhi, the Civil Station Notified Area Committee came into existence on 16th January, 1913.
In 1921-22, the constitution was again revised and the city divided into 12 wards, returning two members each one Hindu and one Muslim. Similarly, the Imperial Delhi Municipal Committee or Raisina Municipal Committee was renamed as New Delhi Municipal Committee in the year 1926-27. The right to elect President was given to the people in the year 1946 and Sheikh Habibur Rehman was elected as the first non-official President of the Delhi Municipal Committee.
With the expansion of the city in subsequent years, more local bodies like West Delhi Municipal Committee and South Delhi Municipal Committee came into being to provide civic administration to the new colonies for displaced persons.
After Independence, the Committee was reconstituted in November, 1951, on a new basis with adult franchise. The total number of members was increased to 63, out of which 50 were elected.
Chronologically, the various civic bodies in Delhi were created in the following order:
1. The District Board, Delhi 1883
2. The Notified Area Committee, Mehrauli 1910
3. The Notified Area Committee, Najafgarh 1910
4. The Notified Area, Committee, Civil Lines 1913
5. The Municipal Committee, Delhi-Shahdara 1916
6. The Notified Area, Committee, Narela 1919
7. The Notified Area, Committee, Red Fort 1924
8. N.D.M.C. 1925
9. Delhi cantonment Board
10. The Municipal Committee, Delhi 1951
11. The Municipal Committee, South Delhi 1954
12. The Municipal Committee, West Delhi 1955
To provide the basic amenities like water, electricity and transport, three statutory bodies viz. the Delhi Joint Water & Sewage Board, the Delhi State Electricity Board and the Delhi Road Transport Authority, were established under the control of State/Government of India in the years 1926, 1951 and 1952, respectively.
Municipal Corporation Comes into Existence
The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act (LXVI of 1957) was enacted by the Parliament on 28th December, 1957. Pending the establishment of the Corporation, under a notification of 15th February, 1958, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Government of India appointed, as an interim measure, a Commissioner of Local Authorities to take over the management of all the local bodies to be merged in it. The first general municipal election was held in March, 1958 and the Municipal Corporation took its birth on 7th April, 1958 as a result of the amalgamation of nine of the eleven local bodies and the Delhi District Board which looked after the civic needs of the rural areas at that time.
Only the Delhi Cantonment Board and the New Delhi Municipal Committee continued to exist as independent entities.
At the establishment of the Corporation in 1958, there were 80 Councillors. 12 seats were reserved for the members of the Scheduled Castes. To start with, all three statutory bodies providing water, electricity and transport were converted into Municipal Undertakings and placed under the overall control of the Corporation. On coming under MCD, these were respectively called Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking (DWS & SDU), Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking (DESU) and Delhi Transport Undertaking (DTU). Later, in the year 1972, a separate Corporation of the Central Govt. was formed for transport by a Central Ordinance. Still later, following the implementation of Delhi Municipal corporation (Amendment) Act, 1993, separate boards of Delhi Govt. were set-up respectively in the years 1996 and 1997 and named Delhi Vidyut Board and Delhi Jal Board.
The year 1963 witnessed decentralization of the Corporation. A number of powers which hitherto rested with the Municipal Corporation and Commissioner were delegated respectively to Zonal Committees and Zonal Officers. The number of Councillors was raised from 80 to 100 in 1967. However, the number of Aldermen i.e. six remained unchanged.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has been constituted on a sound democratic basis. The Corporation and its various committees constitute the Deliberative Wing which is responsible for policy making, supervision, guidance and control. The work of policy execution is entrusted to professional administrators and technical personnel which constitute the Executive Wing.
Control of Government
The Corporation is charged with a wide range of duties and vested with adequate powers. The Chapter XXIV of The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 1993 enumerates the scope/extent of control by the Central Government or by the Delhi Government. The Central Government or the Delhi Government has been bestowed with the power to require production of any record, plan or other documents and may depute any person to inspect or examine any Municipal Department or Office of Corporation. A new Section 330-A on the subject of Building Regulation has been added; while the Commissioner is to exercise the powers and discharge his functions, it has been provided that this would be under the general superintendence, direction and control of the Central Government. Another new Section 490-A has been inserted whereby the Central Government may delegate any of its powers by a notification, to Delhi Government or any of its officers, or the Commissioner or to any other authority. Similarly if in the opinion of the Central Government, the Corporation persistently makes default in the performance of the duties imposed on it by or under the Act or exceeds or abuses its powers, the Central Government may by an order dissolve the Corporation, provided the Corporation shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before its dissolution. In such cases, an election to constitute the Corporation shall be completed before the expiry of a period of six months from the date of its dissolution.
Corporation and Committees
With a view to decentralize municipal services, the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 was comprehensively amended in 1993 through a Parliamentary Legislation, namely, “ The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 1993 (Act No. 67 of 1993)”. It was passed by the Parliament on 17th September, 1993 and its provisions were enforced from 1st October, 1993. It contains 136 clauses and brought about fundamental changes in composition, functions, governance and administration of the Corporation.
Composition of the Corporation
A basic change that comes about is in the composition of the Corporation. Heretofore, the Corporation used to be composed of Councillors and Aldermen. The institution of Aldermen has been omitted in the amended Act. Instead, the Corporation shall be composed of the Councillors. The following shall be represented in the Corporation, namely:
(i) Ten persons, who are not less than 25 years of age and who have special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, to be nominated by the Administrator; provided that the persons nominated under this sub-clause shall not have the right to vote in the meetings of the Corporation.
(ii) Members of the House of the People representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the area of the Corporation and the members of the Council of States registered as electors within the area of the Corporation.
(iii) As nearly as possible one-fifth of the members of the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the area of the Corporation to be nominated by the Speaker of that Legislative Assembly by rotation every year; Provided that while nominating such members by rotation the Speaker shall ensure that as far as possible all the members are given an opportunity of being represented in the Corporation at least once during the duration of the Corporation.
(iv) The Chairpersons of the Committees, if any, constituted under Section 39, 40 and 45, if they are not Councilors.
Councillors shall be chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage from various wards into which Delhi shall be divided in accordance with the provisions of this Act. Every Councillor shall, not later than 30 days after making and subscribing the oath of affirmation and before the last day of the same month in each succeeding year, file with the Mayor a declaration of assets as per provisions contained in Section 32-A.
The maximum number of total seats of Councillors which earlier was 134 has now been increased to 272. Added to these are 10 persons to be nominated by the Administrator, Delhi, Lok Sabha members, Rajya Sabha members enrolled as voters in Delhi and one fifth members of the Legislative Assembly. The Members of the Legislative Assembly are to be nominated by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly by rotation every year so as to ensure that as far as possible all the Members are given an opportunity of being represented in the Corporation at least once during the duration of the Corporation. The size of the Corporation was increased from 134 to 272. But the corporation was trifurcated in the year 2012 & Now the total no of seats of Councillors in South Delhi Municipal Corporations is 104.
Reservation of Seats for Scheduled Castes
The principle of reservation of seats for Principal Act stays as heretofore. The amended Act says, “ the number of seats to be reserved for the members of the Scheduled Castes, shall as nearly as may be, bear the same ratio to the total number of seats as the population of Scheduled Castes bears to the total population of Delhi”. A new concept of rotation of seats has been added which says that the “ seats reserved for Scheduled Castes may be allotted by rotation to different wards in such manner as the Central Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette. Direct”.
Reservation of Seats for Women
The concept of reservation of seats for women has been introduced for the first time. It is stipulated, “seats shall be reserved for women, the number of such seats being determined by order published in the Official Gazette by the Central Government which shall not be less than the one-half of total number of seats other than those reserved for the Scheduled Castes.
Provided that such seats reserved for women shall be allotted by rotation to different wards in such manner as the Central Government may be order published in the Official Gazette, direct in this behalf”.
The concept of reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and for women to different wards has been introduced for the first time.
Reservation of Seats for Women belonging to Scheduled Castes
Women belonging to Scheduled Castes have been provided distinct status in the amended Act. It is stipulated that “seats shall be reserved for women belonging to Scheduled Castes, from among the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the number of such seats being determined by the Central Government by order published in the Official Gazette which shall not be less than one-half of the total number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes”.
Duration of the Corporation
The Corporation, unless sooner dissolved under Section 490, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer. Heretofore, the duration of the corporation was four years.
The amended Act stipulates that an election to constitute the Corporation shall be completed (i) before the expiry of its duration as specified above or (ii) before the expiration of a period of six months from the date of its dissolution. This is unlike the earlier position when Corporation could remain in supersession for years together.
Division of Legislative and Executive Functions
The DMC Act, 1957 has clearly divided the legislative and executive functions. The Mayor is the head of the organization, who is assisted by a deputy. Every year, at its first sitting, the Corporation elects a Mayor and a Deputy Mayor from amongst its members. Voting is by a secret ballot. The Mayor presides over the deliberations of the Corporation and conducts its proceedings. The Deputy Mayor assists the Mayor and acts for Mayor during his temporary absence.
Reservation of Mayor’s Seat
A major change that has been introduced is concept of reservation of Mayor’s seat for Scheduled Castes and Women members on the basis of rotation. The amended Act says, “The office of the Mayor shall be reserved in favour of a member who is a woman for the first year of the Corporation and in favour of a member belonging to the Scheduled Caste for the third year of the Corporation.
For the efficient performance of its functions, there shall be the following municipal authorities under the Corporation, namely:
(a) The Standing Committee;
(b) The Wards Committee; and
(c) The Commissioner.
The Standing Committee
The Standing Committee shall consist of:
(i) Six members elected by the Councillors from among themselves at the first meeting of the Corporation.
(ii) One member each elected by the members of each Wards Committee from among themselves at the first meeting of the Wards Committee; after each general election or as soon as possible at any other meeting subsequent thereto.
The Standing Committee exercises such powers and performs such functions as are specifically conferred or imposed upon it by or under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (Amended 1993).
The Wards Committee
To decentralize municipal services, Wards Committees have also been incorporated as a Municipal Authority to deal with all such civic matters which directly affect the individual residents and being more readily accessible, they are expected to meet day-to-day needs of public more effectively. The power and functions of the Wards Committees are defined in the Fifteenth Schedule. These Committees have been given statutory status.
For each Zone, there shall be a Wards Committee which shall consist of:
(a) All the Councillors, elected from the Wards comprised in that Zone, and
(b) The person, if any, nominated by the Administrator U/S (3) (b) (i), if his name is registered as an elector within the territorial limits of the zone concerned.
Rural Areas Committee
In addition to the Standing Committee and the Wards Committees, there shall be a Rural Areas Committee and an Education Committee of the Corporation
The Rural Areas Committee shall consist of all the Councillors elected from wards situated within the rural areas.
It shall be the duty of the Rural Areas committee:
(a) To make recommendations to the Committee-
(i) In relation to the functions of the Corporation Which may be discharged within the rural areas and question of policy and schemes relating to the development of such areas:
(ii) in relation to taxes which the Corporation proposes to levy in the rural areas: and
(iii) Generally, in relation to the expenditure that may be incurred by the Corporation for the municipal government in those areas.
(b) to review the progress of work of the Corporation in the rural areas
(c) to bring to the notice of the appropriate municipal authorities deficiencies in the rural areas and make proposals to those authorities for the removal of such deficiencies:
(d) to discharge such other functions in relation to rural by the Corporation or buy regulations made under this Act.
The Education Committee shall consist of seven members of whom such numbers not exceeding three as may be determined by the Corporations, shall be nominated by the Corporation from among experts in education who are not members of the Corporation from among themselves at the first meeting of the Corporations after each general election or as soon as possible at any other meeting subsequent thereto.
The Education Committee shall exercise and perform such powers, duties and functions in relation to primary education in Delhi as may be determined by regulations made in this behalf.
Special and Ad-hoc Committees
The Corporations may constitute as many special and ad-hoc Committees as it thinks fit for the exercise of any power or discharged of any function which the Corporations may be resolutions delegate to them or for inquiring into, reporting or advising upon any matter which the Corporation may refer to them.
Appointment of Sub-Committees by Various Committees.
The Standing Committee or the Wards Committee may appoint from among its own members any sub- committee consisting of such number as the committee may think fit for exercising any power or performing any function of that committee under this Act or for inquiries into or reporting or advising upon any matter which that committee may refer to such sub-committee.
To review the financial position of the Corporation and to make recommendations to the administration statutory provisions of constitution of Finance Commission in every five years has been made.
Every such sub-committee shall conform to such instructions as may be given to it by the committee by which it has been appointed.
Transfer of Functions.
The following functions which thitherto were being dealt with by the corporation has been transferred to, other agencies.
(a) Drainage and sewage disposal:
(b) Electric supply: and
(c) Prevention and extinction of fire.
The work relating to electricity has recently been transferred to private corporations.
The Corporation and various Committees are assisted in the day-to –day working by the Municipal Secretary, a Statutory Officer and her/his staff. The civic secretariat is responsible for preparing agendas and proceedings of various Committees and Corporation, and assists the elected representative in matter connected with legislative work. Agendas and minutes are issued in three languages i.e. English, Hindi and Urdu.
At the apex of the Executive Wing is the Municipal Commissioner who is appointed by the Central Government. He holds office for a term of five years in the first instance His appointment may be renewed from time to time for a term not exceeding one year at a time Save as otherwise provided in the DMC Act 1957 (Amended 1993). the entire executive power for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act and of any Act for the time being in force which confers, any powers or imposes any duty on the Corporation; shall vest in the Commissioner Powers of the Commissioner for entering into contracts have been enhanced to Rs. 25 lacs. The Central Government has been empowered for its further enhancement-Previously this power was with Corporation itself.
The Commissioner may, by order direct that any power conferred or any duty imposed on him by or under this Act shall in such circumstances and under such conditions. if any, as may be specified in the order, be exercised and performed also by any municipal officer or other municipal employee specified in the order. The Commissioner is assisted by a number of Additional Commissioners/ Deputy Commissioners, Additional Deputy Commissioners. Assistant Commissioners and heads of different department& The Corporation appoints suitable persons to be respectively the Municipal Engineer (presently designated 'Engineer-in-Chief), the Municipal Health Officer the Education Officer [presently designated, Director (Primary Education)], the Municipal Chief Accountant (presently designated, Chief Accountant-cum-Financial Advisor), the Municipal Secretary and the Municipal Chief Auditor and may appoint one or more Additional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners and such other officer or officers.
Besides the Commissioner, the Central Government also appoints the Chief Auditor who works independently and reports Sect to the Standing Committee. The Chief Accountant also acts as Financial Advisor to the Commissioner.
Decentralization of Administration
The basic change that came as a result of1993 amendment in the DMC Act, 1957 was in the composition of the Corporation and constitution of Wards Committees at zonal level with vast increase in financial powers. It necessitated administrative support to the Wards Committees to formulate proposals for developmental works. The civic body with a view to get the civic works done efficiently strengthened its administration at zonal level w.e.f 1.01.1997. Each zone came to be headed by a Deputy Commissioner, who enjoys all the delegated powers of the Commissioner so as to take major decisions at zonal level. He is assisted by an Assistant Commissioner, Superintending Engineer, Deputy Health Officer, Joint Assessor & Collector, Deputy Education Officer and Deputy Chief Accountant to give efficient and accountable civic administration to the citizens at their door-steps and prompt redressal of their grievances.
Each zone extends to the areas comprised in the wards specified for the zone. The number of wards range from Eight to Thirty Two in different zones. At present, the area under trifurcated MCD's jurisdiction has been divided into 272 wards. Each ward has an office of Junior Engineer, Sanitary Inspector, Registrar of Births and Deaths etc. The citizens living in these areas may also approach these officers for redressed of their day-to-day civic problems.