As undertaken to the High Court the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) has constituted seven ward committees for the City but is set to face a legal challenge.
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 Organisations and community based Organisations engaged in social welfare activities working within the area of the Ward Committee, Adv. Aires Rodrigues has stated that this mandatory requirement has not been complied with and that he would knock the doors of the High Court again to weed out the political appointees.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues had 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 a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice M.S.Sonak and Justice M.S.Jawalkar that the Ward Committees would be constituted within 15 days.
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.