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Reforms in Municipal elections UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • The Supreme Court judgment on the Chandigarh mayoral election gives us a good occasion to think more broadly about elections to municipalities

  • Elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies are impressive democratic exercises in terms of timeliness of elections.

  • The manner in which they are convened, and the clockwork nature in which power is transferred from one government to another. 

  • But elections to “first-mile” governments, i.e., panchayats and municipalities, is another matter altogether

  • The Court has only intervened to right one wrong in one city. 

  • A lot more remains to be done to strengthen first-mile governments in India.

74th Constitution Amendment Act

  • The 74th Constitution Amendment Act, also known as the 74th CAA, is a landmark piece of legislation in India that empowers urban local bodies (ULBs). 

Here's a breakdown of its key features:

  • Background and Purpose:

  • Passed in 1992 and came into effect in 1993.

  • Introduced a new Part IXA into the Indian Constitution specifically dealing with Municipalities.

  • Aimed to decentralize power and grant greater autonomy to ULBs.

Empowering Urban Local Bodies:

  • Provided constitutional status to ULBs, making them more accountable and independent.

  • Mandated states to devolve powers and responsibilities to ULBs for effective functioning.

  • Articles 243W to 243ZG of the Constitution deal with various aspects of ULBs empowered by the 74th CAA.

Key Provisions:

  • Reservation of seats in ULBs for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and women.

  • Establishment of State Election Commissions for conducting ULB elections.

  • Defined functions of ULBs in areas like planning for economic development and social justice, providing basic services (water, sanitation, etc.), and managing civic amenities.

  • Strengthened financial resources for ULBs through taxes, grants, and sharing of state revenue.

Article 243U of the 74th CAA

  • Article 243U of the 74th CAA deals with the duration of municipalities in India

Here's a breakdown of its key points:

Guaranteed Term:

  • Every municipality is guaranteed a five-year term from the date of its first meeting, unless dissolved earlier under specific circumstances.

Exceptions for Early Dissolution:

  • A municipality can be dissolved before the five years are complete, but only under a law already in force.


  • Even in such cases, the municipality has the right to be heard before the dissolution takes place.

Protection from Arbitrary Dissolution:

  • Clause (2) of Article 243U provides an important safeguard

  • It ensures that changes in state laws cannot be used to arbitrarily dissolve a functioning municipality before its five-year term ends.

Overall Significance:

  • Article 243U promotes stability and continuity in the functioning of municipalities.

  • It protects them from being dissolved on short notice due to political or administrative reasons.

  • This five-year term allows municipalities to plan and implement long-term projects for urban development.

Part IX and Part IXA of the Constitution

  • Part IX and Part IXA of the Indian Constitution deal with local self-governance.

  • Part IX - Panchayats (Rural Local Governance)

  • Introduced in the original constitution but later omitted.

  • Focused on establishing Panchayats, which are elected village councils, at the village, intermediate, and district levels.

  • Devolved power to these Panchayats for functions like planning for economic development and social justice in rural areas, providing basic amenities (water, sanitation), and managing local resources.

  • Part IXA - Municipalities (Urban Local Governance)

  • Introduced by the Constitution (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Act, 1992, alongside the revival of Part IX.

  • Deals specifically with Municipalities, the elected bodies governing urban areas.

  • Similar to Part IX, it empowers municipalities by granting them:

    • Constitutional status, making them more accountable and independent.

    • Defined functions in areas like urban planning, infrastructure development, and service delivery.

    • Financial resources through taxes, grants, and state revenue sharing.

  • Articles 243Q to 243ZG of the Constitution specifically address various aspects of municipalities empowered by the 74th CAA.

State Election Commissions (SECs)

  • State Election Commissions are autonomous constitutional bodies established in each Indian state and union territory. 

  • Their primary function is to oversee and conduct elections for urban and rural local bodies in a free, fair, and unbiased manner.

Here's a breakdown of key aspects of SECs:

  • Origin and Mandate:

  • Established by the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Indian Constitution in 1992.

  • Articles 243K and 243 ZA of the Constitution empower SECs.


  • Each SEC consists of a State Election Commissioner, who is appointed by the Governor of the state for a five-year term.

  • The Commissioner is an independent person, not holding any position in the central or state government.


  • Preparation of electoral rolls for local body elections.

  • Delimitation of constituencies for local bodies, which involves defining boundaries of electoral wards.

  • Conducting elections for Panchayats (village councils) and Municipalities (urban local bodies).

  • Issuing notifications related to elections, including nomination schedules, polling dates, and results.

  • Redressal of electoral grievances and ensuring fair play during elections.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Reforms in Municipal elections UPSC NOTE
Reforms in Municipal elections UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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