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June 25, 2023by canonsphere0

This blog is created by Shivani Sehrawat, A 2nd year law student at Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.

The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022 is an Act of the Parliament of India which aims to change the local administration and governance of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. The act seeks to transform the three municipal corporations into one municipal corporation and also empowers the Central Government to take decisions under the Act instead of the Delhi Government, which was the decision-making authority earlier.  


The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 [1] was introduced by the Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah in Lok Sabha on March 25, 2022.  It was passed by the respective Houses of Parliament i.e., the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, on March 30, 2022, and April 5, 2022, respectively. The bill received Presidential assent on April 18, 2022, and came into force on May 22, 2022, through a notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Gazette. 



The Parliament of India enacted the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act in 1957 [2] to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Municipal Government of Delhi.  The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which is among the largest municipal bodies in the world, officially came into existence for the first time on April 7, 1958, to provide civic services to the citizens of the country’s capital. It is the only Municipality of Delhi elected by the people, as the others including the New Delhi Municipal Council, which is owned by the Government of India, and the Delhi Cantonment Board, which is governed by the Ministry of Defense.


The Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi amended the 1957 Act by the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2011 [3] to trifurcate the erstwhile Delhi Municipal Corporation into three smaller and separate corporations, namely, as North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations, respectively. The main objective of the trifurcation was to create compact municipalities at various centers in Delhi in the interest of providing more efficient civic services to the public.  


According to the statement of Objects and Reasons of the Amendment Act, the Union Government strongly stated in the Parliament that the 2011  Amendment Act has failed in achieving the desired aims. The 2011 trifurcation of municipalities was uneven in terms of territorial divisions and revenue-generating potential. As a result, there was a huge  gap in the resources available to the three corporations compared to their obligations, leaving them incapacitated to make timely payment of salaries and retirement benefits to their employees.  

Further, the delay in the payment of salaries and retirement benefits resulted in frequent strikes by the municipal employees, which not only affected civic services but also created concomitant problems of cleanliness and sanitation in the capital. Such financial constraints on the part of the three municipal corporations resulted in inordinate delay in the fulfillment of their contractual and statutory obligations and created serious impediments in maintaining civic services in Delhi. Also, the experience of the last ten years shows that the main objective of trifurcation of creating compact municipalities in Delhi to provide more  efficient civic services to the public has not been achieved.  

Instead, owing to inadequacies in resources and uncertainty in fund allocation and release, the three corporations have been facing huge financial  hardships, making it difficult for them to maintain the civic services in Delhi at the desired levels. The level and quality of delivery of municipal services in the capital of India needs to be in consonance with its unique status and cannot be  subjected to vagaries of financial hardship and functional uncertainties. 

 Therefore, there arose a need for a new law that not only seeks to resolve the existing problems in the system but also ensures further developments  in consonance with the rapidly changing time. 


• To unify the three municipal corporations into a single, integrated and well-equipped entity.

• To ensure a robust mechanism for synergised and strategic planning and optimal utilization of resources. 

• To bring about greater transparency, improved governance and more efficient delivery of civic service for the people of Delhi. 


The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act 2022 [4] primarily provides for changes in the composition, functions and purposes of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi after its reunification in 2022. Although it prima facie appears that the 2022 Amendment seeks to undo the 2011 Amendment, however, in reality, it is true to a certain extent only as not just the recent Amendment modifies the entire governing mechanism, but it transfers the powers of the government of NCT of Delhi given under the Act to the Union Government.

The entire scheme of the new law can be understood best by its comparing with the old law- 

1. Section 3 The MCD was divided into three separate corporations,  named as South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi  Municipal Corporation, and East Delhi Municipal  Corporation respectively.The three separated Municipal Corporations of South,  North and East Delhi were merged into one Corporation  and it was named as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
2. Section 3(6) first provisoThe total number of seats in all the corporations in Delhi  shall not be more than 272.The total number of seats in the MCD shall not be more  than 250.
3. Section 3 – (a) Section 6 – (b) Section 5 – (c) Sections 55 & 56 – (d) Section 193 – (e) Section 499 – (f)The Government of NCT of Delhi had the power to take  decisions in regard of the followings a) total number of seats of councilors and number of  seats reserved for members of the scheduled castes. b) division of the area of corporations into zones and wards. c) delimitation of wards. d) matters such as salary and allowances, and leave of absence of the Commissioner. e) sanctioning of consolidation of loans by a corporation. f) sanctioning suits for compensation against the  Commissioner for loss or waste or misapplication  of Municipal funds or property.The Union Government has been authorized to take  decisions in regard of the followings a) total number of seats of councilors and number of  seats reserved for members of the scheduled castes. b) division of the area of corporations into zones and wards. c) delimitation of wards. d) matters such as salary and allowances, and leave of absence of the Commissioner. e) sanctioning of consolidation of loans by a corporation. f) sanctioning suits for compensation against the  Commissioner for loss or waste or misapplication  of Municipal funds or property.
4. Section 330A The Commissioner will exercise his powers regarding  building regulations under the general superintendence and  directions of the Government of NCT of Delhi.The Commissioner will exercise his powers regarding  building regulations under the general superintendence and  directions of the Union Government.
5. Section 484A It was inserted to provide for appointment of Directors to  local bodies for assisting the government in discharging  functions of corporations. The provision related to the Directors of local bodies has  been omitted. 
6. Section 42(wb) No such provision existed. The provision was inserted to make it an obligatory  function of the new MCD to establish e-governance system  for citizens’ services on anytime-anywhere basis for better,  speedy, accountable and transparent administration. 

Thus, the new Act basically provides for a more systematized and organized Municipal Corporation of Delhi for securing standard quality civic services to its  people.  


Despite the novel ideas and pragmatic objectives of the 2022 Amendment Act for providing better facilities to the public at large, the Act was made subject to   heated debate in the Parliament and widespread opposition in Delhi. The reasons of such strong disapproval of the Act are as follows: 


• The Constitution of India provides for Distribution of Powers, which signifies division of powers between the Union and the States, including their authority to make law on different subjects within their respective jurisdictions.  

• Several MPs as well raised the question of whether the Parliament has the legislative competency to amend the 1957 Act as Municipality is a  State List Subject by virtue of Entry 5 of List II of the VII Schedule. 

• Article 239AA of the Constitution of India, which grants special status to the Union Territory of Delhi, provides in Sub-Clause (a) of Clause 3 that  the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi shall have the power to make law on any matter enumerated in the State List. 

• Thus, the power of making law related to MCD is vested by the Constitution in the Delhi Government, and the Parliament does not have any  competence to make the law in regard to that. 


• Cooperative Federalism is one of the most cherished values of the Constitution of India, which signifies the cooperation and interdependence  between the Union and the States for smooth functioning and governance of the country; however, it does not mean that they can intervene in each other’s work spaces and jurisdictions. Rather, it establishes that both should perform their respective duties within their limits.  

• The substitution of the word “Government” by the term “Central Government” in the Act is a blatant disregard of cooperative federalism as the Union Government has taken over the power granted under the statute to the State Legislative Assembly of Delhi.  

• Thus, the Union Government is intruding the domain of Government of NCT of Delhi, which is the representative of people by depriving it of its  autonomy over the local government of the Union Territory. 

• Furthermore, debating an issue like Municipality and Corporations in the Parliament of India is something unexpectable as it is a matter of local self-government that comes under the jurisdiction of the State Legislative Assembly, and therefore, it leads to questioning the intentions of the Union  Government. 


• The decision to pass the Act was taken on the day when the State Commission of Delhi was determined to announce the date of Municipal  Elections in the National Capital. However, due to the interventions of the Union Government, the State EC indefinitely deferred the municipal  elections. 

• Consequently, the Elections which were scheduled to be held in April 2022, were eventually conducted in December 2022.  


• The amendment primarily sought to unite the three municipal corporations into one corporation and to reduce the number of Councillors. Although,  as per the changing demands of the times, this does not seem like a satisfactory remedy. 

• With the rapidly increasing population in the National Capital, the number of voters is also increasing, which requires a higher number of  Councillors to be elected from their constituency to represent them. Thus, delimitation should enhance and expand the scope of administration and government to manage the upcoming developments, instead of limiting the same, which is contrary to public interest.  


• The earlier trifurcation was a symbol of separation of power, an ideal of the Constitution, as powers were distributed, and each Councillor was bound  to work within the limits of his or her constituency.Therefore, they were easily accessible to people of their ward.

• However, the new reunification is hindering the access of people to their representatives as there is excessive centralization of power within one  Corporation and with a decreased number of Councillors.  


The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act 2022 is a pragmatic step towards the unification of Delhi’s local government, as not only there will be a uniform system throughout the National Capital, but there would be equality of services for all the residents. Additionally, the Amendment would play a significant role in the coming times, as it seeks to provide e-services to citizens, which is a fundamental necessity of the contemporary century in the IT- driven era, as the digital world is becoming a new reality.  

Moreover, despite the criticism of the Amendment Act, it is a properly drafted and enacted law of the Parliament with the aim of making the NCT a better and  secured place, not just for its residents but for all the citizens of the country. Also, Delhi is not just the Capital of the country but also a Union Territory. Therefore, it is under the direct control of the Parliament,  and it has the competence to make law in regard to the NCT of Delhi.  

Further, the Act has been implemented in its entirety, as not only did the MCD come into existence formally on May 22, 2022 with the passing of the Amendment Act, but all the other requirements for its proper functioning has also been fulfilled.This includes delimitation of 250 municipal wards in Delhi, among which 42 has been reserved for Scheduled Castes by the notification of Home Ministry on October 18, 2022 and conducting of elections on December 4, 2022 for the seats.  

Thus, the Amendment Act is a relevant change and holds a critical implication for the NCT of Delhi, as it is a remarkable development in the local government  and administration of the city, with the potential of affecting the entire nation by establishing an ideal model of a unified municipality system for other states while corresponding the international standards of civic facilities. Municipalities may seem like a local issue but they hold great relevance in a country like India, wherein there is so much diversity and differences, and wherein the general public has its first interaction with its elected government on Municipal and Panchayat levels that have Constitutional recognition.Therefore, it must be people oriented and up to their needs. 

Henceforth, the objective of instituting an organized and systematized local administration in the Capital of the Country is in operation, with the hopes of achieving it while respecting all the constitutional values and morality. 

  • [1] Bill 92 of 2022.
  • [2] Act 66 of 1957
  • [3] Act 12 of 2011
  • [4] Act 10 of 2022

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