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Cantonment Board Elections in India

Posted by Manoj Vats on January 19, 2015 | Comment

All civic bodies have clearly demarcated areas for administration and their own respective geographical areas under them. Similarly, there is certain geographical region – mostly having military institutions, referred to as cantonment area – where private properties are also situated – which is administered by a separate body called Cantonment Board, which is under the control of Ministry of Defence. For this Board, representatives are elected from among the residents of the cantonment area.

Cantonment Board Elections in India

Cantonments were originally quarters assigned for lodging troops, a permanent military station created by the British Government in India for the location of military formation away from the civilian towns and insulated from the Indian Nationalist influences.

Cantonment Area & Election Process

Cantonment area is divided into wards; the boundaries are notified by the Central Government under the Ward Rules for each Cantonment separately. Under the Cantonment Electoral Rules, 1945, each year the Cantonment Boards prepares the Electoral rolls as prescribed.  On or before the expiry of the term of elected members of a cantonment, the Central Government notifies the date for holding elections in each cantonment.  Thereafter, the procedure laid down under the Cantonment Electoral Rules, 1945 is followed.

The President of the Cantonment Board appoints the Returning Officer (RO) with whom nominations can be filed.  Reservation for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) is done based on their population in the cantonment which is notified in the Ward Rules of the Cantonment.  The results of the elections are notified by the Central Government within the Official Gazette.

Structure of the Cantonment Board

The Cantonment Board has eight elected members. An officer belonging to the Indian Defence Estates Services is designated as the cantonment executive officer (CEO) as well as the member secretary of the Board. The military body is headed by the President Cantonment Board (PCB) who is the Station Commander and also presides over the meetings of the cantonment board. The Board members are elected for five years by the local residents of the cantonment area.

The demand for additional democratisation of the administration of Cantonment Boards was introduced, in 1954 by keeping the seat of one nominated member vacant in Class I and Class II cantonments.  In these cantonments, the area populated mainly by the civilian population, is notified as the civil area.

Several phases of the administration of such areas are delegated to the Civil Committee of the Board by the Cantonment Board which consists of all the elected Members with the Vice-President as the Chairman of the Committee and also the Health Officer and also the Executive Engineers as the other two members.  Despite its nomenclature, it’s a sub-committee of the military Cantonment Board. When the Act was amended in 1983, certain powers of the Board were delegated to the civil area committee.

Functions of Cantonment Board

The Cantonment Board handles the work related to education, public health, sanitation, roads, street lighting, water supply and birth and death registration. It is divided into wards for the purpose of administration and civil representation.