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 degrees. 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 Bombay Local Authorities. Adult Franchise and Removal of Reservation of Seats Act (XVII of 1950), 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 seats, was provided in the municipalities and in the District Local Board, for women, Muhammedans, Christians, Anglo-Indians, Harijans and Tribes and in 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 26th January, 1960), for women, the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes who more or less represented Harijans and Tribes. Thirdly, wider and wider powers have gradually been conferred on the local bodies culminating in the Maharashtra 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.

The Divisional Commissioner exercises control and authority over all institutions of Local Self-Government in the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Commissioner, Bombay Division extends over Dhulia district. He exercises control and authority under the Bombay Village Sanitation Act (I of 1889); the Bombay District Vaccination Act (I of 1892); the Bombay District Municipal Act (III of 1901); the Bombay Town Planning Act of 1954; the Bombay Local Fund Audit Act (XXV of 1930); the Bombay Village Panchayats Act (VI of 1933) and the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961.