Disqualification of councillors is contemplated only if they fail to attend council meetings for three consecutive months, the Madras High Court today said even as it stressed on the need for active participation of elected representatives in meetings of local bodies. Disposing of a PIL, the court said non-participation in meetings of local bodies did affect local governance. Petitioner S Parthiban sought a direction to the Chennai Corporation to take appropriate action under the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919 against errant councillors. Apart from seeking to disqualify the councillors who had not attended the council meetings, he also sought a direction to disqualify the councillors who had not attended the Zonal Council Meetings for three consecutive months. The court said, "disqualification is (contemplated) only in the case of council meetings not being attended to." "Thus, though the petitioner may have some grievance of the elected representative not taking active participation in the decision making process in the zonal meetings, they may not strictly incur disqualification in terms of provisions of Chennai City Municipal Act." Corporation submitted that no councillor was found violating the provision of 53(1) of Chennai City Municipal Act which paves the way for disqualification of a councillor. Subject to other provisions of the same Act, section 53 (1) says, a councillor shall cease to hold office if, "he fails to attend the meetings of the council for a period of three consecutive months beginning from the date of the commencement of his term of office or of the last meeting, he attended, as the case may be.
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