The quarters of the military personnel or police force are often termed as cantonment. The cantonments are found in different nations including India. In India the cantonments stretch over the northern, western and eastern regions which are renewed and enlarged with modern facilities of warfare, training equipments etc. The Parliament has enacted The Cantonments Act, 2006 on September 13, 2006 to administer and manage cantonments for the purpose of conveying better democratization and to maintain financial stability for the progression of the cantonments.
The Central Government shall affirm any areas with borders as cantonment where the quarters of the force is situated by notifying in the Gazette of India. Likewise, it shall also announce a cantonment shall be closed down or prescribe the confines of such cantonment by notification. Where an area is decided to be a cantonment, the Central government shall establish a Board as provided under the Act. Until the Board is established the functions of the Board shall be performed by the Central government.
The Central government can include or exclude any local area near to the cantonment after consultation with the State Government or the concerned Board. The occupant of a cantonment or the near area shall approach the Central government and submit a written objection to the General Officer Commander-in-Chief before the expiry of eight weeks from the publication of the notification and the Central Government shall consider the objection filed by such person. Where an area is incorporated in to the cantonment, such an area shall come under the purview of this Act and all other legislation dealing with the cantonment including the rules, order, notifications, regulations etc. The Central Government is also empowered to exempt any part of the cantonment from the purview of the Act for the purposes provided under the Act.
In addition, the Act grants for the establishment of Cantonment Board which shall be considered as a municipality according to Article 243 P (e) of the Constitution of India. While acting as the municipality, the Board shall have power to collect funds and allocations and execute the policies and schemes of the Union relating to social wellbeing, public health, cleanliness, supply of water, education, security etc. The cantonments are categorized into four separate types according to the ratio of the population. The Central Government is also bestowed authority to vary the cantonment board due to military operations or for the effective administration of the Board. The Board shall consist of President and Vice President to perform the functions and responsibilities provided under the Act. Each cantonment shall have a Chief Executive Officer who is appointed by the Central government.
The members of the Board shall be elected through an electoral roll and the rules for the proper conduct of the elections shall be formulated by the Central Government but in consonance with the provisions of the Act. The Board shall take a combined action with the local bodies to select and appoint a Chairman for the joint committee. The Board is entrusted with the following duties:
- Lighting the road, lanes and public places;
- Provide water for the public;
- Cleaning the roads and lanes, drainage, get rid of harmful vegetation etc;
- Control trade and commerce that are hazardous or offensive;
- Remove undesirable impediments or hindrances and projections on the road;
- Provide security to unsafe buildings;
- Planting trees in the roadsides and the streets;
- Supply sufficient drinking water and prevent water pollution;
- Registration of birth and death;
- Impose property tax or trade tax;
- Form cantonment fund and cantonment development fund etc.
The Act provides for the constitution of sanitation authorities to discharge the functions for sanitation, maintenance of sanitation in the areas of cantonment. There shall be a health officer to advice the Board on matters related with sanitation. The Board is empowered to formulate bye-laws for the matters connected with the cantonment. Moreover, the Act also empowers the Board for the establishment of Committee of Arbitration.
The Cantonment Act, 2006 repealed The Cantonment Act, 1924. Additionally, the Parliament has also enacted The Cantonments (Extension of Rent Control Laws) Act, 1957 to control the rent for accommodation in cantonments which came into force on January 26, 1950 and The Cantonments (House- Accommodation) Act, 1923 to determine the accommodation of army officials in the cantonments which came into effect on April 1, 1923.