New Delhi: Supreme Court while pointing out the principles in democratic governance of local bodies said if a Mayor vacates the seat, members of Empowered Standing Committee (EMC) should also resign from their posts.

The Apex Court made this observation while accepting the petition of Patna Mayor Afzal Imam.
A two member bench of Justice JM Panchal and Justice HL Gokhale has instructed District Magistrate of Patna to conduct the oath ceremony of seven Municipal Councillors nominated by Imam for Empowered Standing Committee.

The court cleared that under Bihar Municipal Act 2007, all the legal facilities and powers should be provided to Imam and his seven-member Empowered Standing Committee.

The court said in case of the death or resignation of the Mayor, the members of the standing committee should also vacate the seat which is according to the principle of the democratic governance. If the Mayor is not permitted to appoint the members, it may have an impact on public related projects, the bench said.

The court further observed that each new Mayor should have the luxury of appointing members for the Empowered Standing Committee.

The Supreme Court has quashed the decision of Patna High Court, which had stated that Mayor can nominate the members only once.

Patna High Court had supported a state government order issued on December 12, 2009 which stated that there was no need for committee members to quit their posts when a new Mayor took charge.

On July 14, 2009, the then Mayor of Patna, Sanjay Kumar, was removed through a no-confidence motion. A year later, Afzal Emam was elected as the new Mayor. However, on legal grounds, District Magistrate Patna denied rendering the oath of secrecy to the seven members nominated by Imam.

(JPN/ Bureau)