Home Top Story Gujarat poised to make voting compulsory by law

Gujarat poised to make voting compulsory by law


The News Bureau

Gujarat is all set to become the first state in the country to make voting compulsory, with Chief Minister Anandiben Patel indicating that the state government would shortly notify the rules for the compulsory voting bill.

She said that the compulsory voting bill would most likely be implemented during the upcoming local body polls of 253 municipalities, 208 taluka (tehsil) panchayats, 26 district panchayats and six municipal corporations to be


held by October.

Patel said that the state government had made arrangements for implementing compulsory voting and was framing rules to supplement the law.

On an average, the turnout of voters in the local body polls remains around 70 per cent in the state. Sources said that if a compulsory voting rule is implemented, it could cross 90 per cent. Gujarat has already become the first state in the country to pass a Compulsory Voting Bill in the Assembly.

The Gujarat Governor last year gave his approval to the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2011, which makes voting mandatory in civic polls and has a provision of punishment.

The Bill was passed amid strong protest from the Opposition Congress. Subsequently, the state government constituted a committee to seek citizens’ opinion on the Bill. The committee headed by former IAS officer KC Kapoor has recently submitted its report.

Patel said that her government had given orders for g

greater numbers of Electronic Voting Machines to accommodate all the voters.

The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009, that was twice passed by the then Narendra Modi government but turned down by former Governor Kamla Beniwal, was approved by the new Governor in November 2014 making it a law.

The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill also has provision for 50 per cent reservation for women in the local bodies. Beniwal did not clear the bill during her tenure, conveying to the government that it violated Article 21 of the Constitution of India.


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