In News

    • The Supreme Court said the Constitution does not allow nominated members (aldermen) of a municipality the right to vote in meetings.

    About Alderman

    • Alderman” refers to a member of a city council or municipal body, with exact responsibilities depending on the location of its usage. It is derived from Old English.

    Historical Linkages 

    • It originally referred to elders of a clan or tribe, though soon it became a term for king’s viceroys, regardless of age. 
    • Soon, it denoted a more specific title – “chief magistrate of a county,” having both civic and military duties.
    • As time passed, it became particularly associated with guilds with chiefs/leaders being referred to as aldormonn. 
    • In the 12th century CE, as guilds became increasingly associated with municipal governments, the term came to be used for officers of municipal bodies. 
      • This is the sense in which it is used till date.

    Global Status 

    • Britain: Until the 19th century, there was no one role/definition of an alderman in Britain. 
      • Under the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, municipal borough corporations consisted of councilors and aldermen. 
    • The Local Government Act of 1972 finally abolished Aldermen with voting rights, with effect from 1974, except in the Greater London Council and the London borough councils, where they remained a possibility until 1978.
    • US: In the US, depending upon the jurisdiction, an alderman could have been part of the legislative or judicial local government.
      •  A “board of aldermen” is the governing executive or legislative body of many cities and towns in the United States.
    • Historically, in Canada, the term “alderman” was used for those persons elected to a municipal council to represent the wards. 
    • As women were increasingly elected to the municipal office, the term “councillor” slowly replaced “alderman”, although there was some use of the term “alderperson”. Today the term is rarely used.
    • Australia and Ireland have also abolished the term and specific post of an alderman whereas, in South Africa, the term alderman refers to senior members of municipal councils. 
    • In the Netherlands, the term refers to members of the municipal executive (rather than the council).

    The Scenario in Delhi

    • As per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, ten people, over the age of 25 can be nominated to the corporation by the administrator (the Lieutenant Governor). 
      • These people are expected to have special knowledge or experience in municipal administration. They are meant to assist the house in taking decisions of public importance.