Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Pondicherry Municipal Council

Pondicherry Municipal Council


Pondicherry, India, had had French system of municipal administration since 1880 and till the last poll held in 1968. Recently, in 2006 again municipal elections were held.

Area and population

Area of Pondicherry Municipality is 19.46 km2 and its population is 2,20,750.

Early years

The French Metropolitan Decree dated 12 March 1880 adopted a six-year term of office for mayors, municipal councillors and commune panchayats. From then all the civil record were maintained perfectly in Pondicherry Union Territory.
In the past, municipal administration was virtually the pivot of the whole administrative machinery in Pondicherry. It had several features that could serve as a role model for hassle-free administration. Pondicherry had four municipalities in the past namely, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.
Actually, it was the municipal elections that decided cession of the old colonies of French to India.

Past communes

French Metropolitan Decree (12 March 1880) divided the entire region into 8 communes. Each commune was provided with a conseil municipal (municipal council) consisting of mayors and deputy mayors and councillors for the administration of its affairs. Pondichéry had 18 sièges while other 7 communes had 12 sièges each, thus making Pondichéry settlement a total of 102 sièges.

La Mairie De Pondichéry (Hotel de Ville)

There was magnificent and elegant 19th century municipality building situated close to the sea on beach road in Pondicherry. Now the office is located in Rue Dumas, Pondicherry.
Le Dupleix is in a villa built in the 18th century as the residence of Mayor of Pondicherry. It is a 14-roomed luxury heritage hotel now.

Election results of 1948

In June 1948 the French and Indian Governments came to an agreement as to how the future of the French Settlements should be determined.
Municipal elections were held in Pondicherry, Karikal and Yanam on 24 October 1948. The two main parties were the French India Socialist Party (Socialists), who favoured the continuance of French rule, and the Indian National Congress Party, who favoured union with India.

Past mayors

  • Léon Guerre (1880, First Mayor of Pondicherry)
  • Jean Henri Frederic Gaebelé (b.1860-d.1936), Mayor of Pondicherry (1899 and 1908–1928).
  • Selvaraj Chettiar.
  • LATOUR Joseph (1955–1956)
  • Papa Edouard Goubert (Ex-Mayor and First CM of Pondicherry)
  • Muthu Pillai (Last Mayor of Pondicherry)

Post-merger period

The areas comprising the French establishments of India were merged de facto with the Indian Union on 1 November 1954. At the time of merger, the subject of Local Administration was dealt with by the Bureau des Affaires Politiques and the Municipal Administration was covered by the decree of 12 March 1880. The Local Administration Department was constituted only on 1 July 1963 to deal with all matters connected with Local Administration at the secretariat level. The inspectorate of Municipal councils and Local Boards were formed in June 1967, to exercise control over the municipalities. Except a few changes the Municipal Administration continued to carry on according to French laws.

Reorganization of local bodies in 1973

While in Pondicherry Union Territory, the decree of 12 March 1880, which provided for a common structure of Municipal Administration for urban as well as rural areas, continued to be in force. The Panchayat Raj system was in vogue in other parts of the country and Village Administration has been carried out through people's representatives from the village level to the block level. Moreover the old French laws had become so outdated that its replacement by a new law to meet the requirements of the changed circumstances was felt necessary. More over, the municipalities remained stagnant and the establishment charges had increased gradually to reach almost half of the income of the Municipalities. Adequate funds were not left to meet even the essential as well as basic needs of the population. Further, much of the powers conferred on the municipalities by the various French laws ceased to have effect as these laws had been replaced by Indian laws. As a result, the municipal administration as conceived in the Nineteenth Century stood eroded, substantially. Hence, the system was replaced by the Pondicherry Village and Commune Panchayat Act, 1973 and the Pondicherry Municipalities Act, 1973 respectively to govern village and town administration. Both these Acts came into force from 26 January 1974 Commune Panchayat Act provides for a two tier system of Panchayat administration, one at the Village level and the other at the Commune level. The Mayors and Deputy mayors ceased to function with effect from that date. All the executive powers of the Mayors stood transferred to the Commissioners appointed under these Acts.
Under the re-organized set up, the Inspectorate of Local Bodies was converted into a Directorate headed by a Director to deal with the administrative matters. He was conferred the ex-officio secretariat status with two Deputy Directors to deal with "Municipal Administration" and "Rural Development" respectively.

Absence of civil elections for three decades

For more than three decades, the municipalities and commune panchayats were manned by the bureaucracy. Special Officers stepped into the shoes of Mayors and took charge after the civic bodies, formed in 1968, completed their six-year term in 1974.

Current municipalities

Following the introduction of the Pondicherry Municipalities Act, 1973, four municipalities came into existence in Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam towns. The jurisdiction of the Pondicherry Municipality extended to Pondicherry and Mudaliarpettai commune, which stood amalgamated to form a single municipality. The entities of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam communes formed the municipalities of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Under the new law, all functions excluding those assigned to the Chairman, i.e., those hitherto exercised by the Mayor appointed under the municipal decree came to be exercised by the Commissioner. The Mayors were also relieved of their day-to-day administrative responsibilities enabling them to be in greater contact with the public. Commissioners were appointed as the Chief Executive Heads of the Municipalities, in different ranks according to the grade of the municipalities. The erstwhile Ozhukarai Commune Panchayat was upgraded as a Municipality with effect from 14 January 1994 and thereby the number of municipalities in this Union Territory has increased to five and the Commune Panchayat became 10 in number.

Current commune panchayats of Pondicherry region


Map showing 5 Communes of Pondicherry Region with Ozhukarai and Pondicherry Municipality

Present situation

The basic Law of Municipalities decree has now been replaced by the Pondicherry Municipalities Act 1973, which come into force on 26 January 1974. The Pondicherry Municipality constituted under the Act of 1973 is a selection Grade Municipality, and comprises the erstwhile Communes of Pondicherry, and Mudaliarpet and its head quarters in Pondicherry. The total number of council wards is 42. Out of 42 wards, 4 wards have been reserved for Scheduled caste. The Mayor and Deputy mayor have been re-designated as Chairman and Vice-Chairman as per the Act. The Municipal council was dissolved on 31 March 1978 and a Special officer has been appointed to exercise the powers and to perform the duties conferred and imposed upon the Municipal council, including the Standing Committee and other Committees and that of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman and other authorities other than the Commissioner.

Villianur

This is a rural town in Pondicherry located 10 km from the city. Thirukaameeswarar Temple is one of the ancient, beautiful, and huge temples that is located in a beautiful rural town called "Villianur" (the ancient name is Vilvanallur, which means "vilva maranGal niraindha nalla vUr"), which is located about 10 km away (towards Villupuram) from Pondicherry town. This temple is Renowned As "Periya Koil", which MeANs "BiG Temple" in Pondicherry locality. The prime god is Lord Shiva and the prime goddess is Goddess Kokilambigai. In addition, there are also other HindU gods such as MuRUgan, Vinayagar, ThakShAnaMoorthY, Perumal, Bhramah, Chandikeshwarar, Natarajar, Navagrahah, and 63 Naayanmaars. The pioneers in this temple say that the age of this temple is about 1000+ years. This seemed to be constructed by one of the Chola Kings. There is also a huge "temple pond". One of the famous festival of this temple is "Ther Thiruvizha" (Car Festival).

municipal administration in french india

Municipal administration in French India


Though the French established colonies in India in the 17th century itself, it was not until the end of the 19th century they started civil administration in French India.
 French Metropolitan Decree
A French Metropolitan Decree, dated 12 March 1880 adopted a six-year term of office for Mayors (Maire), municipal councillors (Conseil Municipaux) and commune panchayats (Communes). Thus French India has seen a French system of municipal administration.
In the past, municipal administration was virtually the pivot of the whole administrative machinery in French India. It had several features that could serve as a role model for hassle-free administration in French India.
 History of Communes from 1880
The whole system was devised on the same pattern as prevailed in France and other French colonies. The Territory was originally divided into ten communes in 1880, namely:
oPondichéry (Chef-lieu de commune)
oOulgaret
oVillenour
oBahour
· Karikal
oKarikal (Chef-lieu de commune)
oGrand'Aldee
oNedoungadu
oChandernagore (Chef-lieu de commune)
· Mahé
oMahé (Chef-lieu de commune)
· Yanaon
oYanaon (Chef-lieu de commune)
As the area were found too large for administration, by decree of 24 December 1907 they were re-organized into 17 communes, with effect from 21 February 1908.
oPondichéry (Chef-lieu de commune)
oMudaliarpeth
oOulgaret
oBahour
oNettapacom
oVillenour
oTiroubouvane
· Karikal
oKaraikal (Chef-lieu de commune)
oTirounallar
oNedoungadu
oKottucherry
oGrand'Aldee
oNeravy
oChandernagore (Chef-lieu de commune)
· Mahé
oMahé (Chef-lieu de commune)
· Yanaon
oYanaon (Chef-lieu de commune)
Consequent on the merger of Chandernagore with West Bengal, the number of communes have been reduced to sixteen. These sixteen local areas (communes) were declared as Municipalities and administered by Mayors and the Councils.
Except Pondicherry and Karikal which had 18 and 14 respectively, all other 14 communes had 12 seats each. Thus the total municipal council are 200 in number.
 Le chef-lieu de commune (Principal town)
French India had had five principal (Chef-lieu) communes. They are Pondichéry, Chandernagore, Karikal, Mahé and Yanaon.
 La Mairie (Hotel de Ville)
The Mairie (Town Hall) in Pondicherry is called as Hotel de Ville. It was magnificent and elegant 19th century municipality building situated close to the sea near Beach Road in Pondicherry Town.
Other municipalities of French India, i.e. Karikal, Mahé and Yanaon also have their respective Mairie halls at their place.
 Municipal wards (Sièges)
During French colonial rule, Pondichéry settlement had a total of 102 Sièges. Pondichéry commune had 18 Sièges while other 7 communes had 12 Sièges each. Karikal settlement had 74 Sièges. Chandernagore Municipality had 24 wards, Mahé Municipalité had 12 Sièges and Yanaon Municipalité had 12 Sièges. Then, they were called previously as Sièges instead of wards.
 Structure of municipality
Each ward (Siège) was represented by a municipal councilor (Conseiller Municipal). Each commune possessed a Mayor (Maire) and a Municipal council (Conseil Municipal) which managed the commune from the Mairie (city hall). The life-span of a Municipal council was six years, with one half of the membership renewed for every three years.
 Timeline of past elections held
· 1880 30 May
o1883
· 1886
· 1892
· 1898
o1902
· 1904
Re-organized into 17 new communes by decree of 25 December 1907 (w.e.f 21 February 1908)
· 1910
· 1916
o1919
· 1922
· 1928 9 May
o1931
· 1934 21 October
o1937
· 1940
· 1946 23 June
Re-elections held based on Indo-French agreement dated June 1948
· 1948 24 October (Regarding future of French colonies)
· 1954 18 October (Regarding merger with India)
ode facto transfer to Indian Union on 1 November 1954
oNo elections until de jure transfer
· 1962
· 1968
· 2006
 First and Last Mayors
oFirst : Léon Guerre
oLast : Muthu Pillai
· Karikal
oFirst : Mr.Gaudart
oLast : V. Govindarajan
· Mahé
oFirst : Advocate. Paduvankutty
· Yanaon
oLast : Madimchetti Satianandam (de jure), Samatam Kistaya (de facto)
oFirst : Charles Dumaine
oLast : Kamal Prosad Ghosh
 Most important elections
Elections held on 24 October 1948 and 18 October 1954 are most crucial in the history of French India.
 Chandernagore elections
Municipal elections were in August 1948, and were conducted more or less peacefully. The Congress Karma Parishad, an organization sponsored by Bengal members of the Indian Congress Party, won 22 of the 24 seats. The Parishad had stated its policy as one of merger with India.
On 15 December the new Municipal Council passed a resolution in favour of such a merger and requested both the French and Indian Governments to effect the change of administration "in a smooth and amicable manner before March 31, 1949".
· Total seats -24
oCongress Karma Parishad - 22
oPro-French Group - 02
 Election results of 1948
In June 1948 the French and Indian Governments came to an agreement as to how the future of the French Settlements should be determined. Municipal elections were held in Pondicherry, Karikal and Yanam on 24 October 1948. The two main parties were the French India Socialist Party, who favoured the continuance of French rule, and the French India Congress (Congress), who favoured union with India.
· Pondichéry - 102
oSocialists - 83
oCongress - 13
· Karikal - 74
oSocialists - 64
oCongress - 10
· Yanaon - 12
oSocialists - 03
· Mahé - 12
oOwing to serious disturbances, elections were not held in Mahé.
 Election results of 1954
Franco-Indian negotiations were resumed in early August 1954, that time in New Delhi. Nationalist agitation in the settlements was suspended while the negotiations were in progress. A compromise between the French and Indian points of view was worked out. India and France, following talks, issued a joint statement on 13 October 1954 announcing a procedure for deciding the status of the French settlements. Five days later, on 18 October a joint communiqué was issued stating that “all elected members of the Representative Assembly and municipal councils will meet on 18 October at Pondicherry to consider the joint proposals of the two Governments for a final settlement of the future of the establishments and to record their decision on these proposals as an expression of the wishes of the people”. This historical meeting is called Kiloor Congress.
The importance of the Congress and the necessity of the members to attend the Congress were expressed in a circular, which was signed by the Secretary General for French India and dispatched to the elected members accompanied by the topographical map of the place where the congress was to be held together with the admission card. There was a proposal to hold the congress at karaikal, but that was set aside. Kizhur, a tiny hamlet was finally chosen in order to avoid the disturbances, which the presence of messrs. Goubert and Mouthoupoulle might have provoked if the congress had been held at Pondicherry. Monsieur Balasubramanian, President of Assemblée Réprésentative, acted as presiding officer of the congress. After considering the draft agreement put before them by the French and Indian Governments the Congress voted in secret ballot An agreement for the de facto transfer of the Establishments was thereupon signed in Delhi on 21 October 1954.
· Total Voters - 178
oFor India - 170
oFor France - 8
 Date of Events
Colony
Liberation
de facto transfer
Treaty of Cession
de jure transfer
Merger
-
1 November 1954
28 May 1956
16 August 1962
1 July 1963
-
26 June 1949
28 February 1951
9 June 1952
1 October 1954
-
1 November 1954
28 May 1956
16 August 1962
1 July 1963
16 June 1954
1 November 1954
28 May 1956
16 August 1962
1 July 1963
13 June 1954
1 November 1954
28 May 1956
16 August 1962
1 July 1963