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Kerala: Guv Arif Mohammad Khan signs ward delimitation bill amid protest from Opposition

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan signed the ward delimitation bill amid protests from the Opposition. The ordinances aimed to amend the Kerala Panchayati Raj and Kerala Municipality Act of 1994. 

Kerala: Guv Arif Mohammad Khan signs ward delimitation bill amid protest from Opposition anr
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First Published Jul 9, 2024, 8:54 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has approved Local Ward Division Bill earlier passed by the state Assembly. The state government on June 10 hurriedly passed two bills- the Kerala Municipality (Second Amendment) Bill and the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) bill, presented in connection with the delimitation of wards of local governing bodies, without adhering to the required procedures for referring them to the assembly's subject committee or select committee.

Leader of the Opposition, V D Satheesan, advised against signing the Bill, citing its passage without discussion. Satheesan submitted a letter to the Governor requesting this action. In response, the Governor deferred signing the Bill and sought clarification from the government. Subsequently, the government informed the Governor that the Ward Division Bill must be enacted due to constitutional requirements.

The government issued a notification to establish a delimitation commission for the division of wards in state local bodies. A Shahjahan, the State Election Commissioner, heads the commission, with IAS officers Ratan Khelkar, K Biju, S Harikishore, and K Vasuki as members. It was decided to include one additional ward in each local body as part of this initiative.

Following delimitation, gram panchayats will have a minimum of 14 wards instead of 13 and a maximum of 24 wards. District panchayats will see the minimum number of divisions increased to 17 from the current 16, with a maximum of 33 divisions instead of 32. In municipalities, the minimum number of wards will rise to 26, while the maximum will be 53. Similarly, in Corporations, the minimum and maximum number of wards will increase from 55 to 56 and from 100 to 101, respectively, upon the promulgation of the Ordinance.

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