LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT IN THE DISTRICT IS CONDUCTED by
various statutory bodies such as the municipalities, the village
panchayats and the Zilla Parishad enjoying local autonomy in
different degress. The progress of these institutions could be marked in three spheres. Firstly, in regard to their constitution, from fully or partly nominated bodies, they have now become entirely elective. Secondly, their franchise which had gone on widening with the enactment of the Central Provinces and Berar Municipalities (Bombay Amendment) Act, 1957 (Bombay Act XVI of 1958) has reached the widest limit possible, viz.,
universal adult franchise. Every person who: -
(a) is a citizen of India;
(b) has attained the age of 21 years; and
(c) has the requisite residence, business premises or taxation qualification-
is now entitled to be enrolled as a voter. Prior to 1950, reservation of scats was provided in the municipalities and in the District Local Board, for women, Muhammedans, Christians, Anglo-Indians, Harijans and Tribes, and in the village panchayats, for women, Muhammedans,, Harijans and Tribes. The above enactment abolished the reservation of seats for Muhammedans, Christians and Anglo-Indians but continued it for ten years from the commencement of the Constitution of India (i.e., till 25th January 1960), so also for women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes who more or less represent Harijans and tribes. Thirdly, wider and wider powers have gradually been conferred upon the local bodies culminating in the Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 for the administration of the areas under their charge. This has resulted in the participation of the people in the local government creating facilities for training to shoulder higher responsibilities.
After the reorganisation of the State in 1956 and consequent transfer of Vidarbha region of Madhya Pradesh State and Marathwada region of former Hyderabad State, the municipalities in the State came to be administered under different laws for instance, Bombay area of the State under Bombay District Municipal Act, 1901 and Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925; Vidarbha area of the State under Central Provinces and Berar Municipalities Act, 1922, and Marathwada region of the State under Hyderabad District Municipalities Act, 1956. The Divisional Commissioners used to exercise control and authority over the municipalities in their respective jurisdictions.
In order to provide for a unified pattern for the Constitution,
administration and powers of municipalities and to make better
provision, there for, the Government appointed a Committee to
advise it on aforesaid matters. After considering the report of the Committee, the Government decided to unify, consolidate
and amend the laws relating to municipalities in the State and
enacted in the Sixteenth Year of the Republic of India an Act,
known as "The Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965".
Under the Act, the Director of Municipal Administration exercises control and authority over all institutions of local self-government in the State. The Act also empowers the Collectors to exercise control and authority over all local self-governing institutions in their respective jurisdictions. The powers of the Director of Municipal Administration and the Collector of Municipal Administration and the Collector have been denned in Chapter XXIII of the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965.