DELHI METROPOLITAN COUNCIL
(1966-1990)

Article 239A, which was inserted in the Constitution by the Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act, 962 provided for creation of local legislatures or Council of Ministers or both for some of the then Union Territories (which later became States) viz., Himachal Pradhesh, Manipur, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradhesh and the present Union Territory of Pondicherry. However some of the other Union Territories viz., Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Chandigarh were excluded from the purview of Article 239A.

The demand for a broad based democratic set-up for Delhi kept on building till the Interim Delhi Metropolitan Council with the Executive Council was set up under the Delhi Administration Act, 1966. the provisions of the Act came into force with effect from September 7th 1966. The institution of the Metropolitan Council was devised as a compromise.

Functionaries of The Metropolitan Council

      The Metropolitan Council - the highest elected body of Delhi- was the deliberative wing of the Delhi Administration, which was devised as a compromise between a representative body with full legislative and financial powers and administration by the President through his nominee, the Administration. The Important functionaries of the institution of Metropolitan Council were: Administrator, Presiding Officers, Leader of the House, Leader of the Opposition, Whips, Members, Secretary and Secretariat.

Administrator: Prior to the Passing of the Delhi Adminstration Act, 1966, the Administrator appointed under Article 239(1) was known as Chief Commissioner. With effect from 07.09.1966, he was designated as Lt. Governor. Under section 30 of the 1966 Act, the Lt. Governor worked under the general control of the President and complied with such particular direction as may from time to time be given by him.

    The Lt. Governor was the kingpin of the Delhi Administration and its deliberative wing viz, the Delhi Metropolitan Council. Under section 11 of the 1996 Act, he was required to summon, from time to time, the Metropolitan Council to meet at such time and place as he thought fit, with the condition that six months should not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its sitting in the next session. He could also, from time to time, prorogue the Metropolitan Council. He could also dissolve the Council with the approval of the President. Although the power to summon and prorogue the Metropolitan Council is vested in the Lt. Governor, he exercised this power on the recommendation of the Executive Council.

While Article 87(1) of the Constitution makes it incumbent upon the President to address both Houses of Parliament assembled together at the Commencement of the First session after each general election to the Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first session of each year, there was no similar specific provision in the Delhi Administration Act requiring the Lt.Governor to address the Metropolitan Council. Section 14 of the 1966 Act contained a provision analogous to Article 86(1) of the Constitution which provided that the Administrator may attend and address any meeting of the Metropolitan Council and may for that purpose require the attendance of members. However, in practice, the Lt. Governor had invariably addressed the Metropolitan Council at the commencement of its Budget Session every year to inform the Council of the cause of its summons. His address was later discussed by the Metropolitan Council on a Motion of Thanks.

  Under Rule 129 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the Business in the Metropolitan Council, all communications from the Administrator to the Metropolitan Council were to be made by him to the Chairman. Similarly under Rule 130, communication from the council to the Administrator was made (i) by a formal address after a motion made and carried in council, and (ii) through the Chairman. Thus all recommendations of the Metropolitan Council relating to legislation and resolutions pertaining to the budget of Delhi Administration and Delhi Development Authority etc. and its other decisions were sent by the Chairman to the Administrator, who after having them considered by the Executive Council, forwarded them to the Central Government.

Presiding Officer

Pro-tem Chairman: There was no provision either in the Delhi Administration Act, 1966 or in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Metropolitan Council for the appointment of a pro tem Chairman. However, when a new Metropolitan Council was constituted after the elections, and the former Chairman of the Council ceased to hold office, one of the senior members of the Council was appointed as the pro tem Chairman by the Lt. Governor, to preside over the Council till the new Chairman was elected.

Chairman and Deputy Chairman: The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Metropolitan Council were elected by the Council from amongst the members under the provisions of section 12(1) of the 1966 Act. They were elected by a majority vote.

Term of Office: The term of office of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Council was co-terminus with that of the Metropolitan Council. However, under second proviso of section 12(2)(c) of the Act, whenever the Metropolitan Council was dissolved, the Chairman did not vacate his office until immediately before the first meeting of the next Metropolitan Council.

Powers: The Chairman was the all-important conventional head of the Metropolitan Council. He determined, having regard to the state of business, the days on which the house would sit and fixed the hour of commencement of a sitting. He also determined the time when a sitting of the council shall be adjourned sine die, or to a particular day, or to an hour or part of the same day. The Chairman had the power to recognize parties and groups in the House. He was the custodian of the rights and privileges of the members of the Council. Inside the House his authority was supreme. He conducted the proceedings of the Council and exercised all powers necessary for its smooth functioning and for preserving order in the House. His rulings were final and could not  be questioned. Under Rule 239, the Chairman had the power to deal with all matters which were not specifically or adequately provided for in the rules. All questions relating to the detailed working of the rules were also regulated by him. The Chairman had also certain inherent powers. In exercise of these powers, he had issued directions from time to time regarding the presence of Executive Councillors in the House and of the Officers in the Officers' Gallery particularly of those Officers whose departments are the subject matters of discussion in the House and as a result thereof certain conventions have developed. Under his inherent powers, the Chairman could in certain special cases, allow motions to be moved or withdrawn which were not covered by the Rules of Procedure, could order expunction of words from the proceedings of the House on any ground not provided for in the rule relating to expunctions and could revise or correct a decision given by him earlier.

      The Chairman was in supreme control of all Committees whether set up by him or by the House. The admission to various galleries meant for officers, Press, visitors etc. were regulated in accordance with the orders made by him. No arrest could  be made within the precincts of the Council without his permission.

Resignation/Removal: Under Section 12(2)(b) of the Act, a member holding office as Chairman or Deputy Chairman, at any time by writing under his hand addressed, if such members was the Chairman, to the Deputy Chairman, and if member was the Deputy Chairman to the Chairman, resign his office. He could also be removed from his office by a resolution of the Metropolitan Council passed by a Majority of all the then members under section 12(2)(c). No resolution could, however, be moved unless at least 14 days notice had been given of the intention to move the resolution. 

Panel of Vice-Chairmen: Under Rule 10, at the commencement of the Council or from time to time generally at the first sitting of each session, the Chairman of the Council nominated from amongst the members of the house a panel of three Vice-Chairmen. In the absence of Chairman and the Deputy Chairman, any one of them was requested to preside over the House. The selection was entirely in the hands of the Chairman, but as a matter of convention one of the three members nominated by him on the panel generally belonged to Opposition. Rule 12 provided that while presiding over a sitting of the House, the Vice-Chairman had the same powers as the Chairman when so presiding.

Leader of the House: The Chief Executive Councillor, who along with three other Executive Councillors, was appointed by President of India under section 28(1) of Delhi Administration Act to assist and advise the Lt. Governor in the exercise of several of his functions in relation to matters enumerated in the State List or the Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, functioned as Leader of the House in the Metropolitan Council. In consultation with other Members of the Executive Council and the Chairman, he made proposals for the dates of summoning and prorogation of the House for the approval of the Administrator. He drew up the programme of official business to be transacted in a session of the Council. He was consulted by the Chairman in regard to the arrangement of government business. He was usually present in a sitting of the House and had the right to address the House whenever he liked.

Leader of the Opposition:The Leader of the largest recognised party of Opposition having the strength of 15 or more members was recognised as the Leader of the Opposition in the Meropolitan Council although there was no specific provision either in the Delhi Administration Act or in the Rules of the Metropolitan Council in this regard. There was also no provision for the grant of any special status to the Leader of the Opposition. He drew his pay and other allowances as a member only. He was, however, given a room in the precincts of the Council and was provided with secretarial assistance. As a matter of practice, he was nominated as the Chairman of the Committee on Assurances of the Metropolitan Council.

    While Shri Shiv Charan Gupta of the Congress Party was the leader of the opposition in the First Metropolitan Council (1967-72), Shri Vijay Kuma Malhotra (Jan Sangh) and Shri Dharam Das Shastri (Congress) were the leader of the Oppostion in the Second (1972-77) and Third (1977-80) Councils respectively. During the Fourth Metropolitan Council, Shri Madan Lal Khurana of the Bhartiya Janta Party was the leader of the Opposition from 17.03.1983 to 30.11.1985. Shri Kalka Dass (B.J.P) was thr Leader of the Oppostion for the remaining period of the Council.

Whips: There was no provision either in the Delhi Administration Act or in the Rules of Procedure of Metropolitan Council with regard to the post of Whips in the House. However, in practice the Chief Whip and Whip of the Ruling party were nominated by the Leader of the House and the Whips of other parties by Leaders of the respective parties in the Council.

          Shri. Madan Lal Khurana, Dr. Roshan Lal and Shri Raj Kumar Jain were the Chief Whips of the respective ruling parties in the First, Second and the Third Metropolitan Councils respectively.  Sh Nand lal Chaudhary was the Chief Whip of the Congress (I) Party in the last Council (1983-1990)

Members: The Metropolitan Council consisted of 61 members of whom 56 were elected and five were nominated. The Interim Metropolitan Council, however, had only 47 members (42 elected and five nominated). As in the case of other Members of Parliament and State Legislatures in India, the term of office of the Members of the Metropolitan Council was of five years.

Qualification:   Section 6 of the Delhi Administration Act provided that a person shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Metropolitan Council unless he (a) was an elector for any constituency and made and subscribed before some person authorised in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation; (b) was not less than twenty five years of age; and (c) in the case of constituency reserved for the Scheduled Castes, was also a member of any of those castes. Section 19 of the Act specified certain other condition such as holding office of profit, which disqualified a member.

Immediately after the election of the member to the Metropolitan Council and subsequent to the official notification by the Election Commission, every person who was so elected as a member of the Council was required under section 16 of the Act to make and subscribe before the Administrator, or some person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath of affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose, before he took his seat in the Council.  

Following is a list of the important functionaries of the erstwhile Delhi Metropolitan Council:

INTERIM METROPOLITAN COUNCIL  (1966-67)

Sh. Jag Parvesh Chandra (3.10.66 to 27.3.1967)

Chairman
Mir Mustaq Ahmed  C.E.C. 
Sh. H.K.L.Bhagat E.C.(Edn)
Sh. Radha Raman     E.C.(Med.) 
Sh. Bhiku Ram Jain                     E.C. (Fin) 
Sh. R.K.Baweja Secretary

FIRST COUNCIL  (1967-72)

Sh. L.K.Advani (28.3.67 to 19.4.70)
Sh. Shyam Charan Gupta ( 19.4.70 to 19.3.72)
Chairman
Sh. Shyam Charan Gupta
Sh. Janardhan Gupta   
Dy. Chairman
Sh. Vijay Kumar Malhotra C.E.C
Dr. Ram Lal Verma    E.C. (CS) 
Sh. Amar Chand Shubh                   E.C. (Fin) 
Sh. Shiv Narain Sarsonia E.C. (Rev.) 
Sh. R.K.Baweja (1967-70)
Sh. Desh Deepak  (1970-72)
Secretary

SECOND COUNCIL  (1972-77)

Mir Mustaq Ahmed ( 20.3.1972 to 27.6.77) Chairman
Sh. Jag Parvesh  Chandra Dy. Chairman
Sh. Radha Raman C.E.C
Ch. Mange Ram ( 1972-73) E.C. (Fin)
Ch. Hira Singh   (1973-77)              E.C. (Dev.)
Sh. O.P.Behl  ( 1972-77) E.C. (C.S.)
Sh. Desh Deepak (1970-72)
Sh. Rajni  Kant   (1973-75)
Sh. Sunder Lal Bhargava (1975)
Sh. T.R.Kalia (1975-77)
Sh. M.K.Chawla ( 1977-78)
Secretary

THIRD COUNCIL  (1977-80)

Sh. Kalka Dass (28.6.77 to 17.3.83) Chairman
Begum Khurshid Kidwai  ( 1977-80) Dy.  Chairperson 
Sh. Kidar Nath Sahni  C.E.C
Sh. Madan Lal Khurana E.C. (C.S.) 
Sh. Rajesh Sharma          E.C. (Lab)
Sh. Fateh Singh  (1977-79) E.C. (Rev.) 
Sh. G.C.Jain ( 1978-79)
Sh. N.C.Kochhar (1979-83)
Secretary

FOURTH COUNCIL  (1983-90)

Sh. Purushottam Goyel  (18.3.83 onwards) Chairman
Smt. Tajdar Babar  (1983 onwards) Dy.  Chairperson 
Sh. Jag Parvesh Chandra C.E.C
Sh. Bansi lal Chauhan E.C. (Health) 
Ch. Prem Singh E.C. (Dev.) 
Sh. Kulanand Bhartiya E.C. (Edn.)
Sh. Lokeshwar Prasad ( 1983-85)
Sh. B.S.Chaudhary  (1985 -1990)
Secretary

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