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Residents Assembly

 

Mandates

 

The bulk of Auroville's administration is carried out by working groups. While these are theoretically empowered by the Residents Assembly or community-at-large, it is not always clear what the respective working groups do and what their parameters are. We therefore have recently requested the various groups to give a resume of their mandate or a general policy paper pertaining to heir activities.

The following groups have given their mandates / policy papers.

From the AV-Foundation Act:

18. (1) The Residents' Assembly shall consist of all the residents of Auroville who are for the time being entered in the register of residents maintained under this section.

(2) The Secretary to the Government Board shall maintain the register of residents in such manner as may be prescribed and all the persons who are residents of Auroville and who are of the age of eighteen years and above are entitled to have their names entered in the register on an application made to the Secretary in such form as may be prescribed.

(3) All the names of residents, which have been included in the register maintained by the Administrator appointed under section 5 of the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1980 immediately before the appointed day, shall be deemed to have been included in the register maintained under this section.

19. (1) The Residents' Assembly shall perform such functions as are required by this Act and shall advise the Governing Board in respect of all activities relating to the residents of Auroville;

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the foregoing powers, the Residents' Assembly may-

(a) allow the admission or cause the termination of persons in the register of residents in accordance with the regulations made under section 32;

(b) organize various activities relating to Auroville;

(c) formulate the master plan of Auroville and make necessary recommendations for the recognition of organizations engaged in activities relatable to Auroville for the approval of the Governing Board;

(d) recommend proposals for raising funds for Auroville for the approval of the Governing Board.

(3) For the purpose of carrying on its functions, the Residents' Assembly may establish such committees as it may consider necessary which shall represent it in relation to the functions to be performed by the Governing Board.

 

Decision making by the Residents’ Assembly

As approved by the Residents’ Assembly of August 13th, 2007

 

Universal suffrage

Decision making in the Residents’ Assembly of Auroville is based on the principle of universal suffrage. This means that each person has the right and privilege to participate in decision making, but that there is no compulsion to exercise this right.

Whether or not a person participates in decision making is a private matter. People should be respected for their participation as well as for their decision not to participate.

There may be many reasons why a person does not want to participate: for example the topic does not interest him or her; or one has pressing business elsewhere; or one is simply satisfied to leave the decision to others.

The principle of universal suffrage implies that each Aurovilian who wants to bring out a vote should be allowed to do so in the way which is most convenient to him or her. Some people prefer to cast a vote from their homes through email or by sending a signed note. Others may prefer to attend a meeting in person and bring out their vote. All options are equally valid.

Who can participate in decision making?

Only residents of Auroville can participate in decision making.

The Residents’ Assembly is defined in the Auroville Foundation Act as consisting of “all the residents of Auroville who are for the time being entered in the Register of Residents maintained under this section,” which means all Aurovilians of 18 years and older. It excludes therefore newcomers, long-term guests and friends of Auroville.

Decision making by consensus versus decision making through voting

Auroville prefers to make decisions through consensus instead of through voting. This is based on our spiritual aspiration, and on our endeavour to find a solution that can satisfy all. However, this attempt has also sometimes blocked situations from getting resolved.

The problems of everyday life have often many possible solutions, some equally good, and backed by equally valid arguments.
But if consensus cannot be found, a solution through voting is the only way out.

General meetings

In Auroville, everyone has the opportunity to give his or her views through the intranet.
Opportunity should also be given to give these views a full and fair hearing. For this there should be one or more general meetings, where differing points of view can be considered and discussed. Any working group or group of people can call for and organize general meetings.


Method of Decision making by the Residents’ Assembly.

As approved by the Residents’ Assembly of August 13th, 2007

 

A. Calling and chairing of Meetings of the Residents’ Assembly

1) Meetings of the Residents’ Assembly are called by the Residents’ Assembly Service

a. either at the request of the Working Committee; or
b. at the request of a recognised working group; or
c. at the request of at least 60 residents.

2) The Residents’ Assembly Service will ensure that meetings of the Residents’ Assembly are called with a clear Agenda stating the purpose of the meeting, and the decision(s) to be arrived at.

3) The Residents’ Assembly Service will publish the Agenda of a meeting of the Residents’ Assembly in the News and Notes, the AVNet and on the mass bulletin of the community email service.

4) There will be a minimum period of 2 weeks between the date of the publication of Agenda of the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly in the News and Notes and the date of the meeting.
Only in emergencies, as assessed by the Working Committee, will the Residents’ Assembly Service call a meeting within a shorter period.

5) Meetings of the Residents’ Assembly are chaired by

a. a member of the Residents’ Assembly Service; or
b. a member of the Residents’ Assembly appointed by the Residents’ Assembly Service; or
c. a member of the Residents’ Assembly Service together with a member of the Residents’ Assembly appointed by it.

6) Meetings of the Residents’ Assembly are normally preceded by one or more general meetings where the topics can be discussed. Only in emergencies may the Residents’ Assembly Service call a meeting of the Residents’ Assembly without the matter having been discussed in one or more earlier general meetings.

 

B. Voting on proposals made to the Residents’ Assembly

1) A resident of Auroville can vote on a proposal as outlined in the Agenda:

a. In writing: via email or through a signed form sent to the Residents’ Assembly Service indicating the name of the person and the vote.
Such email or form has to be received by the Residents’ Assembly Service at the latest one hour before the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly.

b. In person: by attending the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly and voting on a form distributed by the Residents’ Assembly Service in the meeting

2) The Residents’ Assembly Service, assisted by three impartial Aurovilians as selected by it, will check if a person who has submitted a vote (in writing or in the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly) is a resident of Auroville and will count all votes. They will also ensure that the vote of a resident who has voted twice, in writing and in the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly, is discounted.

3) The Chairperson(s) of the Residents’ Assembly will announce the outcome of the voting in the meeting as soon as all the votes cast in the meeting have been counted and the names of the voting residents been checked. The Chairperson(s) will then also announce the count of the votes that have been submitted in writing to the Residents’ Assembly Service in favour and against a proposal, and will announce the totals of all votes cast in writing and in the meeting.

4) If the Chairperson(s) decides that there are complications with the counting of the votes, the results will be announced on the mass bulletin of the community email service the following day.

 

C. Decision making on proposals

The Chairperson(s) of the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly will declare a proposal accepted by the Residents’ Assembly if:

1) The total number of the votes cast - in writing and in the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly - is at least 10% of the number of residents as recorded in the Register of Residents at the time of the meeting; and.

2) A minimum of 50% of the votes cast is in favour of the proposal.

 

D. Notes of the meeting and voting records

1) The Residents’ Assembly Service will compile the voting statements pertaining to a particular decision of the Residents’ Assembly in alphabetical order of names of the residents and ensure that the voting records are properly archived.

2) The Residents’ Assembly Service will ensure that all meetings of the Residents’ Assembly are audio recorded and that such recordings are properly archived.

3) The Residents’ Assembly Service is responsible for making the minutes of the meetings of the Residents’ Assembly and for publishing those minutes in the News and Notes and on the mass bulletin of the community email service.

4) The Residents’ Assembly Service is responsible that decisions of the Residents’ Assembly are communicated to the Working Committee for further communication to the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation.

5) A resident is entitled to inspect the voting records and get a copy of the recording of the meeting of the Residents’ Assembly at cost price to verify the accuracy of the minutes.

 

 

 

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