The Tamil Nadu Assembly Tuesday extended the term of office of special officers of urban and rural civic bodies by another six months through amendments to relevant laws which was opposed by the main opposition DMK and its allies.
The amendments carried out by adopting bills extend the term of office of special officers upto June 30, 2019 or until the first meeting of the local bodies after elections, whichever was earlier.
The schedule for holding elections to the urban and rural local bodies will be notified following completion of key processes, the government said in the Bills outlining the reasons for extension of terms of office.
The process include the receipt of Tamil Nadu Delimitation Commission's recommendations on reservation of seats for SCs, STs, and women as per the TN Delimitation Commission Act, 2017.
A delimitation commission was set up in August 2017 to demarcate the boundaries of wards in local bodies after a Bill was adopted in July last in the Assembly.
When Tamil Nadu Panchayats (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and TN Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 were introduced by Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani, it was opposed by the DMK and its allies the Congress and IUML.
Later, the Bills were adopted through a voice vote and at that time the Opposition benches were vacant since they had walked out on the Sterlite issue.
Since the terms of office of special officers ends on December 31, 2018, ordinances were promulgated on December 30 last year in this regard and the present amendments also replaces the ordinances.
Election to urban and rural local bodies that were scheduled to be held origianlly in October 2016 got mired in legal battles with DMK approaching the Madras High Court on the issue. The main opposition party had contended then that the notification for the polls was done in a rush.
The DMK had wanted conduct of polls by providing adequate reservation to Scheduled Tribes, necessary rotation of seats in all the posts, as mandated by the Constitution.
Subsequently, process like delimitation of wards of local bodies was undertaken by the Delimitation Commission based on 2011 Census.
Extensions were being provided for the special officers -ever since issue of holding of civic polls reached the court in 2016- by adoption of amendment Bills and the present exercise is the fifth time in a row.
"The Tamil Nadu Stamp Bill, 2019," aimed at regulating the procedure on the levy of stamp duty with 76 sections covering several aspects including adjudication on the lines of similar legislations by States like Maharashtra was adopted.
With TN Payment of Salaries Act, 1951 getting amended, former members of the Legislative Assembly and Council will now be eligible for second class air conditioned railway fare from their residence to Chennai for taking part in the Independence and Republic Day celebrations and for return journey.
Appropriation Bills and the TN GST Act, 2017 amendment to allow quarterly filing of return were among the other Bills that were adopted.
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