Municipal Commissioner should remember that India is governed by Rule of Law and must work within the four corners of MMC Act
Dipen Agrawal, President of Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry & Trade (CAMIT) strongly protests and condemns the recent order of Municipal Commissioner, NMC directing all business and professional establishments to obtain a licence from Nagpur Municipal Corporation contravenes the provisions of Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 (MMC Act). This action is not only arbitrary but is also against the well-settled proposition of law. This order of the Commissioner testifies the belief of the traders that they are soft targets available to the administration to thrash and browbeat them now and then. It will increase inspector raj, open floodgates for corruption, and hamper the ease of doing business initiated by the Union & State Government.
Dipen Agrawal said that Municipal Commissioner has assumed arbitrary and unbridled discretionary powers in himself to regulate all business/commercial activities within the city limits of Nagpur, whereas the Act empowers him to regulate only selective commodities and activities which may create a nuisance or danger to public safety and health. Section 376 of Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, Section 229 of Nagpur Municipal Corporation Act, Section 394 of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and Sections 280 & 281 of Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Township Act operate in the same field i.e. to regulate certain activities so that they do not cause any danger to the health and property of the residents.
Dipen Agrawal pointed that the Supreme Court has held that, a discretion conferred upon authority is arbitrary and unfettered if there is no appeal from his decision, and such discretion is likely to cause injustice, and therefore such conferment of discretion cannot be upheld by the courts. Contrary to this, the order says that the Commissioner’s decision is final and binding on all. Thus, if there is no higher authority prescribed in the order who could examine the propriety of these reasons and revise or review the decision, the provision to communicate the rejection of application remains only for the personal or subjective satisfaction of the Commissioner and do not give any remedy to the aggrieved person, added Agrawal
The powers of Municipal Commissioner are not absolute, they are subjected to approval & sanctions from Corporation (House) and Standing Committee as prescribed in the Act. It appears that the Commissioner has circumvented the provisions of the MMC Act regarding sanction from the Corporation to fix fee and has assumed the power on himself to revise the same time to time.
CAMIT has represented to Dr. Nitin Raut, Cabinet Minister and Guardian Minister for Nagpur and appealed that State Government should intervene and recall the Municipal Commissioners order dated 27/07/2020 by invoking powers conferred on State under Section 464 of MMC Act in the interest of justice and give solace to the business community of Nagpur already working under stress and fear of NMC’s irrational diktats, informs a press release issued by Sanjay K. Agrawal, Vice President (Nagpur), CAMIT.