Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Community halls for councillors use? Gujarat HC issues notice to AMC

DNA: Ahmedabad: Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the vacation bench of the Gujarat High Court on Monday challenged the move by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to allow 65 councillors and 8 MLAs the use of various community halls, party plots and such without due process and in violation of the rules.
It is alleged that the standing committee of the AMC through a one-line resolution allowed this to happen even though this was in violation of the normal process of booking of municipal premises.
It has further alleged that the municipal premises so booked in the name of councillors for a particular function was, in fact, being used by someone else. The petition by one Khemchand Rajaram Koshti, a lawyer also alleged that the resolution ensured that all such municipal premises were booked for the year 2018 as well as 2019. The petition has called the move by the standing committee of AMC as unreasonable and abuse of power and has sought from the court that the resolution by quashed.
The court has issued a notice to the AMC and the state government in the matter.
The petition said the civic body runs 28 community halls, 17 party plots, 5 auditoriums and 3 picnic houses which are available for rent for the various occasion including marriages at an economical rate.
The petition said information sought under the RTI Act revealed that the municipal premises like community halls were being booked eight months in advance while the rules state it can be booked only six months in advance.
The RTI revealed that in some cases, the premises was booked in the name of a councillor and on that particular date the function of someone else was held there. It alleged that such collusion between the AMC and the elected representatives meant the public did not get the benefit of the premises even though it was constructed by public money.
The petition said until 2008 the process of booking such a premise was done manually. From 2009 onwards it became online and anyone wishing to book a premise of the corporation had to apply six months in advance. It further added that the rent was to be paid by demand draft.