The Centre on Monday notified the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, to merge the three civic bodies in the national Capital.

The three civic bodies are North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation. With the merger, the new body will be known as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, according to a gazette notification issued by the Union law ministry.

All the three civic bodies are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind had given his assent to Act.

The Delhi corporation was trifurcated in 2012 by the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government. At that time, the Congress had said it wanted to decentralise power for better governance.

On March 25, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had introduced the Bill to merge the civic bodies in Lok Sabha after it was cleared by the Union Cabinet. On March 30, the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on April 5.

According to the the amended Act, the Union government will appoint a special officer to oversee the functions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The Centre will also determine the number of seats of councillors and the number of seats reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes in the civic body.

The ratio of the number of seats for members of the Scheduled Castes and their population should be the same as the ratio of the population of the community to the population of Delhi.

However, the total number of seats in the civic body cannot be more than 250.

Currently, there are 272 seats. In order to adhere to the amended Act, bringing the number of seats down to 250 would mean a delimitation exercise, The Indian Express reported. This would considerably delay the upcoming civic body polls, according to the newspaper.

The current term of the councillors ends on May 18. The State Election Commission had initially scheduled the corporation polls on March 9.

The elections were then scheduled for April. Later, the Commission had deferred the polling indefinitely, citing a communication from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal after the Bill to merge the civic bodies was introduced in the Union Cabinet.

The Act is an amendment to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.

The Aam Aadmi Party has vehemently opposed the merger saying that the Bill was introduced by the Centre to postpone the civic elections in the Capital.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders had said that the unification of municipal corporations could have been done in the last few years, as the BJP has been in power in the Centre since 2014. They alleged that the the BJP was doing it now to postpone the elections because the saffron party knows that it will not win.