With the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council elections having concluded, the city is all set to see the city council functioning after a gap of three years. But first, for the council itself to hold its first meeting, the state government’s Urban Development department must issue a notification to conduct elections to the standing committees and for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Within 30 days of the notification, the first meeting has to be held.
According to Additional Council Secretary Mario Pires, the functioning of the BBMP Council is as per rules mentioned in the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act, 1976.
The Act says that the first meeting of the Corporation shall be held "as early as possible after the publication of the results of such an election".
Pires says that the first meeting of the Council is convened by the BBMP Commissioner and presided by the Regional Commissioner of the state government’s Revenue department. It is at this meeting that elections for the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor and standing committees are conducted. Subsequent meetings are convened by the Council Secretary.
Constitution of the BBMP Council
Now, the Council will consist of 270 members. This includes the 198 newly-elected Corporators, 28 MLAs, four Lok Sabha Members of Parliament (MP), 12 Rajya Sabha Mps, eight MLCs and 20 nominated members who are residents of the city. Pires says that these 20 members will be nominated at a later time (not necessarily in time for the first Council meeting) by the Chief Minister.
However, Pires says that it is mandatory for only the 198 Corporators to attend meetings and is not so for the rest. For the Mayoral elections, all 250 members except the 20 nominated members will be allowed to vote.
During the first meeting, elections to the eight standing committees also will be held. Only the 198 Corporators can vote in this. The elections will only be for the post of Member for each of these committees. Each committee will have seven members. The members in turn will choose a Chairman from among themselves.
The eight standing committees are for:
1. Taxation and finance
2. Public health
3. Town planning and improvement
4. Public works
6. Education and social justice
8. Horticulture and marketing
Power of Corporators
The KMC Act also says that the Corporators "may draw the attention of the proper authority to any neglect in the execution of Corporation work, to any waste of Corporation property or to the wants of any locality, and may suggest any improvements which he considers desirable." A Corporator also has the the "right to interpellate on matters connected with the Corporation administration subject to the regulations framed in this behalf."
Each Standing Committee member’s term of office is for a period of one year from the date of their election into the committee. No Corporator can be a member of more than one standing committee at the same time.
The Council Secretariat will also conduct an orientation session for the Corporators. This will be done at a date after the Mayoral elections. "We’ll give them the KMC Act and also tell them how they should ask questions", Pires says.
Pires says that the Council itself will have two sittings every month. One is a monthly meeting which is a day-long one. The KMC Act terms this as an ‘Ordinary meeting’.
Pires says another meeting will be held on specific subjects, say in case of passing resolutions. The KMC Act calls this a ‘Special meeting’ which is called by the Mayor on the request of not less than one-third of the members, specifying the resolution which is proposed to move. This can last for upto a day or two depending on how long it takes to pass the resolution.
Pires adds that budget discussions can take upto three days.
As per the KMC (Procedure for the Conduct of Business of the Corporation and Committee) Rules, 1998, the Council Secretary will issue notice of meeting to each member specifying the date and time. The notice will also include the agenda of the meeting which will be prepared by the Council Secretary under the directions of the Mayor.
The proceedings of every meeting will be recorded by the Council Secretary. This will be typed and signed by the Mayor. Pires says that the same will be published on BBMP’s official website.
Allowance for council members
Mayor (per month) -Rs 5,000 + vehicle + telephone
Deputy Mayor (per month) – Rs 3,500 + vehicle + telephone
Corporator (per month) – Rs 1,500 + Rs 500 (travel allowance) + Rs 750 (telephone charges)
For every council meeting attended, Rs 200 for Corporators, MLAs and MLCs.
For every standing committee meeting attended (a maximum of five per month), Rs 100 each for the Corporators.
As per the KMC act, the BBMP Commissioner has the right to attend any of the Council meetings or Standing Committee meetings and take part in discussion. He, however, does not have the right to move resolution or vote. If the Mayor requires him to attend a specific meeting, he shall do so.
Pires says that members of the media can attend these meetings for which a entrance pass will be issued by the Public Relations Officer of the BBMP. The public are also at liberty to attend council meetings and have a separate gallery where they will be seated.
Functioning of the Council
The Business Rules of the KMC Act also says that the "first hour of every day of the sitting shall be available for asking and answering of questions", unless the Mayor says otherwise. At least 15 days notice (in writing) should be given for a question, again unless the Mayor says otherwise. The Mayor will decide whether a question can be admitted. Council Secretary Neelakanta says that if a question is addressed to the Mayor himself, he cannot refuse to admit that question.
The council can also move and pass resolutions based on rules mentioned in the KMC Act. Again, the Mayor will decide on its admissibility.However, of the 270 members, only the 198 Corporators can vote to pass these resolutions.
Pires says that members of the Council cannot pass resolutions to remove/appoint BBMP officials like Deputy Commissioners.
The Mayor and the Deputy Mayor will have their own chambers in the BBMP office premises. The Standing Committees will also have an office each, in the Council building. The Corporators will function from their respect ward offices.
The KMC Act also specifies rules to be observed by members while the House is sitting. Some of them include – no shouting of slogans, no tearing of documents in protest, should not obstruct or interrupt a member when he/she is speaking and so on.
Even though the BBMP does not have marshalls for security, Pires says that the local police station will be informed about council meetings who will deploy personnel. Apart from this, the BBMP security guards will be present in the Corporation premises.
Leave of absence
For Council proceedings to be carried on, at least one-third of the members (of the 198 Corporators) need to be present. The Mayor will use his discretion to suspend the sitting until there is a quorum or adjourn the sitting to some future time or day. ⊕