Mandatory voting law stayed by Gujarat HC

Right to vote itself contains right to refrain from voting, feels the high court

GN Bureau | August 21, 2015


#voting   #Gujarat   #kohli   #beniwal  

Gujarat government's notification issued last month making voting compulsory in civic body polls has been stayed by the high court.

In response to a petition filed by advocate KR Koshti questioning the provisions of making voting obligatory for all citizens, a bench headed by acting chief justice Jayant Patel admitted the case and stayed operation of notification of compulsory voting till final disposal of the case on Friday.

In a significant observation, the Gujarat high court bench stated that the right to vote itself contains right to refrain from voting.

Gujarat became the first state to make voting compulsory in local - municipal as well as panchayat polls after governor OP Kohli approved the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009.

It had been rejected by earlier governor Kamla Beniwal. She had rejected it on the ground that this provision of law was in violation of the Constitutional provisions, which guarantee freedom of expression including the right to vote or not to vote.

The law was passed in 2009 and again in 2011 when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. Finally, it got governor's nod last year.

Gujarat is scheduled to witness civil elections in 253 municipalities, 208 taluka panchayats, 26 district panchayats and six municipal corporations after a couple of months.

To give teeth to this newly elected law, the government imposed a penalty of Rs 100 on citizens who did not vote.

The notification under controversial Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment), Act 2009 (2014) was issued on July 17, 2015. He was to be applicable for over three crore voters expected to cast their franchise in civic elections in six municipal corporations. State has recorded 45-50 per cent voting in local bodies elections in the past. In 2010, six municipals corporations had recorded average voting of 44 per cent.

Following this notification, any citizen abstaining from voting in civic elections will be penalized — the punishment could be monetary fine or non-eligibility for certain civic incentives — which will be specified once the rules are framed, officials said.

Along with the compulsory voting notification, state government has also issued an ordinance for the addition of a clause the act for declaring the elected representatives disqualified if they do not vote.

"It will be duty of a citizen to vote in the local bodies elections. However, every citizen has the freedom to vote in favour of none of candidates contesting elections by pressing None Of The Above (NOTA) option."

In case of failure in voting the registered voter will be declared as the defaulter and against whom the designated authorities will take legal action as prescribed in the rules which will be declared shortly.

Comments

 

Other News

Rs 1,514 crore already spent on cleaning Yamuna

 The major reason for high level of pollution in river Yamuna is inadequate flow due to over extraction of surface and ground water and discharge of untreated effluent, union minister Vijay Goel informed the Lok Sabha on Monday. He said the water resources ministry is supplementing the effor

No central government scheme to run endlessly

 Centrally sponsored schemes will now onwards run for a fixed period of time, thanks to a sunset date. An outcome review will also be carried out.   In public policy, a sunset clause means that it shall cease to have effect after a specific date, unless further legislative/a

What India needs to do to finally become a superpower

For the past 25 years, India has been rising in stature. It is continually called an upcoming superpower but has been unable to reach the promised status. India’s importance in the world is more due to its immense population and potential as a market than any objective assessment of development. Indi

Would keeping an army tank at JNU instil nationalism?

Would keeping an army tank at JNU instil nationalism?

Yogi in politics, TN industries shift base and, how to end the Maharaja’s misery

Everyone in Yogi Adityanath`s office declares that Yogi’s political career is founded on the work carried out from there, first when he was mahant of the influential temple, and then as an MP. Vijendra Singh, who works at the office, says “It’s because of these letters that Yogiji has n

A fifth of Rs 29 lakh crore are NPAs

Banks have advanced a staggering Rs 29,46,060 crore to the industrial sector, of which Rs 6.93 lakh crore are non-performing assets (NPAs).   Finance minister Arun Jaitley informed





Video

कश्मीर पर तीसरे पक्ष की मध्यस्थता स्वीकार नहीं - महबूबा

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter