A power tussle has erupted at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC). The Trinamul Congress is pressurising mayor Subrata Mukherjee to “share” inter-departmental powers among members of his council to “save the board from losing majority” in the CMC.
Discontent has been on the rise among the Trinamul mayor-in-council members, borough chairmen and councillors over the perception that the mayor and commissioner Debasis Som have been taking over powers vested in the entire council.
However, Mukherjee insists the CMC Act of 1980 empowers the mayor, municipal commissioner and finally, the mayor-in-council. But the Trinamul has referred instead to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (Transaction of Business of the mayor-in-council) Regulations, 1986, which “curb” his power.
They pointed out that Calcutta High Court upheld the authority of a council member over that of the mayor in 1990, saying: “The mayor of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation has no authority to revoke or cancel any decision taken by the member, mayor-in-council.” The order was passed by Justice K.M. Yusuf in the Debu Bhattacharjee versus Calcutta Municipal Corporation and others case.
“The main objective of the mayor-in-council is to decentralise authority for better supervision and a broad-based administration, ensuring increased participation of people’s representatives,” said former mayor Prasanta Chatterjee.