Issues relating to the right of serving defence personnel and family members residing with them,to get registered as a general voter at their place of posting and cast votes,were raised by the members of the All India Veterans Core Group (AIVCG) at a meeting on Monday morning.
Lt gen PN Hoon said,Why does the government deny serving defence personnel voting rights under the Representation of People Act 1950,while they are present on our borders?
The constitutional right of a serving soldier to get registered at a place of ordinary residence as per existing law and the ability to cast his/ her vote,if not agreed to,takes away his/her constitutional right, says Brig HS Ghuman,president,All India Veterans Core Group (AIVCG).
While discussing the electoral reforms for serving defence personnel,Lt Gen PN Hoon said,Every Indian above 18 years of age has the constitutional right to be registered in the electoral rolls – Section 19 of RP Act 1950,but the same is denied to serving defence personnel,who are ordinary residents at their place of posting.
He added that this amounts to discrimination and denies them the fundamental constitutional right under universal adult suffrage.
Another member said,It is surprising that the Election Commission of India overlooks a major voting population of India – 14 lakh serving defence and 9 lakh para-military forces (PMF) personnel and their families,approximately 3.5 million voters. The demand for the constitutional right of the serving defence personnel to get registered at their place of ordinary residence and the ability to cast vote in no way takes away the apolitical nature of the defence forces.
While suggesting the recommendations,the members said,A committee may be constituted immediately to evolve a foolproof system of registration of serving defence personnel at the place of their posting,both at family/ non-family and peace/field stations. It includes their spouse/ family members residing with them.
The meeting was presided over by Lt Gen PN Hoon,former C-in-C Western Army,and attended by Brig NS Sandhu,MVC and Sumit Gupta,Advocate,Punjab and Haryana High Court.