Hyderabad: Legal experts say that the state government cannot dissolve the elected civic bodies without there being allegations of abuse of power by the elected body.
There has been speculation within the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for the past two months that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao would advance the elections for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) after dissolving the council.
The recent statement of minister T. Srinivas Yadav that the elections to the GHMC could be held at any point in time lent credence to the speculations, and leaders of opposition parties have been debating the possibility of early GHMC elections. But the elected body of the GHMC has tenure till January 2021 — nearly a year and a half from now.
The question being debated in political circles is whether the state government has the power to hold elections one- and-a-half years ahead of schedule.
According to N. Sridhar Reddy, senior lawyer of the Telangana High Court, under Section 679-D of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act 1955, the state government has the power to dissolve the municipal council when it has opinion that the corporation is not competent to perform, or persistently defaults in performing, the duties imposed on it by or under the Act or any other law for the time being in force, or exceeds or abuses its position or powers, or a situation exists in which the municipal administration cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
He said that the government can also dissolve the council when it is found that the financial stability or credit of the corporation is threatened.
He also said that the state government has to issue notice to the council and seek explanation and then by notification in the Gazette, direct that the corporation be dissolved with effect from a specified date and reconstituted either immediately or with effect from another specified date not later than six months from the date of dissolution; and the notification will be laid before the Legislative Assembly.
In the backdrop of these provisions, the opposition parties, and some ruling party leaders too, feel that dissolving the council on any of the above grounds would have an adverse effect on the ruling party with the TRS in power in the GHMC.
In the present council, the TRS has 99 corporators, MIM has 44, BJP has four, the Congress has two and the Telugu Desam has one.
TRS leaders say that their friendly party, the Majlis-e-Ittihadul Muslimeen (MIM), may not agree to advancing the GHMC polls, and the option of mass resignations of council members also may not be agreed to by the MIM....