The Goa Government has informed the High Court that the rules for constituting the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) are in the process being framed.
The Director of Municipal Administration Dr. Tariq Thomas in his affidavit has stated before the High Court that the CCP Ward Committee Rules 2020 proposed under Section 391 of the CCP Act have been prepared and the same is under the process of obtaining Government approval. He has further stated that the draft rules once published will be kept open for 15 days for any objections or suggestions from the public. Dr Thomas in his affidavit has also stated that the rules would prescribe the norms for the recognition of the Non- Government Organizations and requisite qualifications for nomination of members on the Ward Committees.
The High Court is scheduled to hear on Thursday 27th August the petition filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues challenging the constitution of the Ward Committees. The High Court while seeking an explanation from the CCP and State Government had directed those 21 nominated members to file an affidavit about their qualifications.
Pointing out that Section 41 of the CCP Act mandates that the three non-official members on each ward committee must be from amongst the members of recognized non-Government Organizations and community based Organizations engaged in social welfare activities working within the area of that Ward Committee, Adv. Aires Rodrigues drew the attention of the High Court that this mandatory requirement was not been complied with by the CCP while the Mayor Uday Madkaikar appointed his non-matriculate brother Sandesh Madkaikar and Rupesh Shirgaonkar the husband of Ward No 6 Corporator Shubhada Shirgaonkar was also taken on board.
While stating that none of the 21 appointed on those seven Ward committees have the requisite qualifications, Adv. Rodrigues also drew the attention of the High Court that the CCP itself had informed him that it did not have the details of qualifications and experience of each of those three nominated members on the seven constituted Ward Committees. While submitting that the constitution of the Ward committees done by the CCP was very unlawful and contrary to the statutory mandate, Adv. Rodrigues sought directions to the CCP to reconstitute the Ward committees in accordance with law.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues had earlier moved the High Court in February this year over the failure of the CCP for the last 18 years to constitute the Ward Committees as required under Section 41 of the CCP Act. The CCP on June 16th had assured the High Court that the Ward Committees would be constituted within 15 days in accordance with law.
In his petition Adv. Aires Rodrigues had sought High Court directions to immediately constitute Ward committees while pointing out that every provision of any law had to be enforced in toto as otherwise the authorities would be acting in rank breach of law.
Adv. Rodrigues in his petition had stated that in rank violation of law this very vital provision of Section 41 of the CCP Act had not been implemented to the detriment of Panaji and its residents.
Stating that Public participation is a vital part of democracy and it allows Citizens to get involved in how their communities are governed, Adv Rodrigues further stated that the Ward Committees envisaged by law would act as a crucial link between Ward Corporators, the community and the CCP while allowing members of the public to rightly influence the city’s much needed planning in a manner which best addresses their needs.
Adv. Rodrigues also stated that the Ward committees would help improve communication between the CCP and the community besides playing an important role in being a link between the public needs and the CCP planning processes and that members who serve on these Ward committees would be well placed to ensure that resources are allocated to the most pressing needs in the Wards.
Adv. Rodrigues stated that the Ward committees would participate in determining core CCP processes such as Integrated Development Planning, CCP budgeting and its performance management besides helping make sure that financial transfers from Central or State government is used for the purposes they are intended for while ensuring that the people of Panaji get the best services on all fronts.