The Manipur Municipalities Act, 1994

The Manipur Municipalities Act, 1994 enacted on 8th July, 1994 was enforced on 24th May 1994. The Act provides for constitution and organisation of municipalities in urban areas of Manipur and for matters connected thereto.

The Act empowers Governor to constitute municipalities. Section 3 provides that Governor after notification shall constitute (i) Nagar panchayats for transitional areas i.e. areas converted from rural to an urban area; (ii) Municipal Council for a smaller urban areas (iii) Municipal Corporation for a larger urban area. Such municipality shall not be formed in areas which are proposed to be provided to an industrial township. Once the allotment of an area into a new Municipality is decided, such municipality shall first clear all its taxes, toll, fee, rates due to the government or any other authority. The notification shall also provide for boundary marks symbolising municipality territory.

Chapter III of the Act provides for incorporation of Nagar Panchayat and Chapter IV provides for establishment of Municipal Council. Municipal administration under the Act is vested in the hands of council and Nagar Panchayat. Such Panchayats and municipalities shall be a body corporate having common seal and perpetual succession. Under the Act Nagar Panchayats can hold, acquire, and dispose of property in its name. In both Nagar Panchayat and Municipal Corporation, there shall be Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and such number of Councillors as the government may deem fit. The Councillors shall be elected through direct election, except for one Councillor who shall be appointed directly by Government. Such directly elected Councillor shall not participate in voting. After election of Councillors the Deputy Commissioner shall call upon a meeting within 21 days after notification under section 22 where in the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson shall be elected. The chairperson shall forward his resignation to Executive Officer while the councilors and vice chairperson shall forward it to Chairperson who shall forward it to Executive Officer.

In case of municipalities having population above three lakh there shall be ward committees having minimum composition of atleast five wards The ward committees shall constitute of members as already representing the ward, executive officer and such other officers as the government may notify. Apart from these there shall be a chairperson and vice chairperson elected by the members amongst themselves after the Deputy Commissioner call upon a meeting. The state government subject to notification shall reserve certain seats. An administrator shall be appointed by the State Government till the time municipality is not elected. Municipality once elected shall administer for a period of five years.

The Chairperson shall preside over all the meetings of Nagar Panchayat or Council and shall administer, supervise the officers of Nagar Panchayat or Council. The vice chairperson shall function in the absence of Chairperson. Section 36 of the Act lays down function of municipalities’ i.e to prepare plan for economic development, implementing schemes, duties enshrined in the schedule. Apart from these the municipality shall exercise their jurisdiction over matters involving lightening public places, water supply, drainage, cleanliness, imposing taxes, granting licence, naming streets, regulation of infectious trades, removing dangerous object and hazardous substances and buildings, registering births and deaths are a few to name along with others given under section 37.

Functions pertaining to Nagar Panchayat and Council shall be carried through Executive officer or secretary appointed in consensus with government. The executive officer shall supervise all the financial and executive works. Apart from this there shall be a health officer, revenue officer and an engineer appointed by Nagar Panchayat along with appointment of other employees.

The Nagar Panchayat and Council shall conduct its business by holding meeting atleast once in every month having atleast one third of total members present. The minutes of meeting shall be recorded as per the provision of section 53 and the same shall be forwarded by executive council to deputy commissioner. The Nagar Panchayat and Council if situation necessitates appoint standing committee. The liability for loss, waste or misappropriation of funds shall be on chairperson, vice chairperson and all other officers of the Council and Panchayat.

All the public property situated in municipality except private property shall be vested in municipality and shall be non transferable. The Nagar Panchayat or Council shall enter into contracts, acquire land and formulate municipal fund as per the provisions of sections 64, 65, 66 and 67. The Nagar Panchayat or Council two months before closing of financial year shall formulate a budget and shall also maintain accounts. Chapter VIII of the Act empowers Municipality to impose taxes. Incase a person has not paid taxes imposed by municipality; it has power to recover the same as per provisions under chapter IX of the Act. The Nagar Panchayat and Council shall work under supervision of Deputy Commissioner who has enormous power to control, enter, inspect the working of Nagar Panchayat or Council. The act also provides for procedure to be followed incase the Council directs a private person to carry out work and the necessary procedures to be followed while doing so.

The Manipur Municipalities Act enables the formation of Municipal council and Nagar Panchayat who shall administer the public works in municipalities of Manipur. The Act attempts to control the autonomous nature of these municipalities by imposing restrictions under the Act. That the Council so appointed under the act is established with purpose that it shall work only for benefit of people and nothing else.

by Vibhuti Nakta.