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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gujarat first state to make voting mandatory Monday July 27,2015

The state government on Monday July 27,2015 brought in a notification that made it mandatory for citizens to vote in the forthcoming local body polls in six municipal corporations, over 250 municipalities, 33 district panchayats and around 200 taluka panchayats. The state on an average records not more than 45 per cent voting during the local body polls.

Following this notification, any citizen abstaining from voting in civic elections will be penalised — either by way of monetary fine or non-eligibility for certain civic incentives — which will be specified once the rules are framed. The notification is however quiet on the specific punishment that will be meted out to those who fail to exercise their voting duties.

On July 22, 2015, the state had announced that as per the notification, an elected member or an office bearer of any local body would get disqualified if he or she does not vote.

Other than making voting compulsory, the backdated notification of July 17, 2015, also reserves 50 per cent seats in the municipal corporations, municipalities, and village panchayats for women.

The ordinance is likely to be made part of the Act through another amendment during the upcoming Monsoon session. The bill received the present Governor O P Kohli’s nod in November 2014, after its introduction in 2009. The bill that was earlier passed twice with a majority vote by the Gujarat government led by Narendra Modi had faced stiff resistance from former Governor Kamla Beniwal in 2010 and 2011 on the grounds that forcing people to vote violated Article 21 of the constitution, stating that forcing a citizen to vote was against the principles of individual liberty

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