Nearly six months after notifying the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Act, 2009, that has the controversial provision of compulsory voting in the elections of local institutions of self-governance, the Gujarat Government has formed a panel to frame rules to implement the provision. The panel has also invited suggestions/recommendations from general public on the controversial provision by April 18.
An official press release on Friday informed the formation of the panel which is being headed by former State Election Commissioner and retired Gujarat-cadre IAS officer K C Kapoor. Kapoor was also part of a two-member commission that was formed by the Gujarat Government to probe into the alleged snooping of a woman architect allegedly at the behest of BJP national president and former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah. The release added that the panel also included some top officials of different departments of the government and other experienced officers.
As per the release, the main responsibility of the panel will be to make necessary recommendations to the state government over the issue of implementing the compulsory voting provision of the act.
“Accordingly, before the panel makes its recommendations final, it has been decided to get suggestions of general public on compulsory voting,” the release said. It added that while specially taking into consideration the upcoming elections, the suggestions/recommendations should be sent to the Development Commissioner, who is also the secretary of the panel, by April 18.
The release, however, did not make clear if the provision of compulsory voting would be implemented in the upcoming polls of the local bodies in Gujarat.
Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, had taken a form of an Act in November last year when Gujarat Governor, O P Kohli, signed the bill while giving it his consent. The Act has two major provisions — 50 per cent reservation for women and compulsory voting in the elections of local institutes of self-governance.
Elections of more than 300 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are due around October this year. Barring Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation and Junagadh Municipal Corporation, the elections are due in rest of the six municipal corporations in the state around October.
Gujarat Government has made it clear that the provision of 50 per cent reservation for women in the elections of the ULBs will be implemented. Though, so far, it is not clear whether the compulsory voting provision will be implemented or not. To implement the same, the government needs to issue a notification codifying the rules for the same.