Rotation of reservation in MCD elections 'undemocratic'

Hinduatan Times:Jag Parvesh Chandra

In a two-part series, former Chief Executive Councillor Jag Parvesh Chandra writes about the seat rotation system for MCD which is one more controversial aspect of the coming elections.

IN THE Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which has 134 wards for election of councillors, 25 wards are reserved for scheduled castes; of them 9 are reserved for scheduled caste women. Of the remaining wards, 37 are reserved for women. Thus the number of reserved wards is 62. The reservation of the wards will have to be "rotated" when the elections are held in March 2001.

According to the scheme of rotation prepared before the last election in 1996, all the 62 reserved wards will now become unreserved. Thus the rotation will affect 124 wards - only 10 will remain unaffected.

Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes is undoubtedly a progressive step, and imperative for strengthening social cohesion. But changing the reserved constituencies for Scheduled Castes and women every five years by rotation needs to be reconsidered dispassionately. Of the existing councillors, 124 will either have to forego their re-election or will have to hold themselves out as candidates from wards with which they have so far not been connected.

In this process of rotation the real losers will be the people of that constituency and it is for the benefit of the people that the system of democracy has been evolved slowly and gradually.

In an election, people vote for a particular candidate of their choice whom they think will help them to solve their problems. If the system of rotation is followed in the forthcoming elections, they will suddenly find that the candidate whom they elected cannot even contest just because the nomenclature of the constituency has been changed. For instance, a general seat has been changed into one reserved for women, or vice-versa. This can happen in the case of Scheduled Castes also.

As far as the sitting member is considered, he will not take that much interest for public welfare which he would have done if he knew that he could fight in the coming elections from the same constituency as in the case in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. Thus both the people of that constituency and the person whom they elected would lose equally. Such a state of affairs is repugnant to the spirit and purpose of parliamentary democracy. That being so, the time-tested system of democracy will suffer a jolt at the local level. Our parliamentary system of democracy is still in a nascent stage. Therefore, good performance by Municipal Corporators will have its impact on the growth of healthy municipal governance.

It is only personal care of the constitutens and concern about their day-to-day needs that the parliamentary system of governance can continue.

Delhi being a Union Territory, Article 243 ZB is of special interest. It provides that the President may by public notification direct that the provisions of this part shall apply to any Union Territory or part thereof subject to such exception and modification as he may specify in the notification.

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Referred by: Mukandan CM
Published on: July 6, 2001
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