Gujarat Governor O P Kohli gives nod to controversial voting Bill

The bill provides that a person, who does not vote in the local body poll, will be liable for penal action and punishment.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Updated: November 10, 2014 12:33 pm
O P Kohli O P Kohli

Gujarat Governor O P Kohli recently signed the controversial Gujarat Local Authorities Laws Bill, 2009, which has the provisions of compulsory voting and 50 per cent reservation for women in the institutions of local self-governance. Once the Act comes into effect, Gujarat will be the first state to have the provision of compulsory voting.

Secretary of Gujarat Assembly D M Patel said the Governor signed the Bill a few days back and it has been sent to the Legislation Department of the government.

Meanwhile, sources in the Legislation Department said the Bill had the provision that the government would issue notification as and when it felt fit to come out with various additional provisions to implement the law, like the punishment for the voter who does not go for voting.

“These notifications will be issued by the government now in due course,” the sources said.

The Bill encompasses municipal corporations, municipalities and the district, taluka and village panchayats of Gujarat. Elections to six municipal corporations, 31 district panchayats, 231 taluka panchayats and 53 nagarpalikas in Gujarat are due in October next year.

The Bill, which was passed twice by the Gujarat government led by the then chief minister Narendra Modi, had faced stiff resistance from former governor Kamla Beniwal on the ground that forcing voters to compulsorily vote violates Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Bill provides that a person, who does not vote in the local body polls, will be liable for penal action and punishment. The Bill was first introduced in the Assembly in December 2009 and passed by a majority vote.

It was, however, returned by Beniwal in April 2010 with remarks that “forcing voter to vote is against the principles of individual liberty”. Beniwal had returned the Bill to the government for reconsideration with her comments.

Beniwal had also asked the government to separate issue of women’s reservation in local body polls from the compulsory voting one.
However, ignoring Beniwal’s suggestions, the then Modi government had once again passed the Bill on December 28, 2011 by a majority vote in the Assembly and sent it to Beniwal. The Bill was also made a part of the poll agenda by the BJP during the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

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First Published on: November 9, 2014 7:07 pm
  1. M
    Mamata Das
    Jan 6, 2015 at 7:17 am
    Another example Belgium. Since it has no NOTA, it only requires voters to show up at the booth but they don't have to actually vote.
    Reply
    1. I
      Indian
      Nov 10, 2014 at 6:18 am
      Way to go! With NOTA in place, there is no reason to not to vote. Let other states also follow this. This bill is especially important to protect weaker sections of the society.However, this bill can be misused also. Say, celebrities, whose photographs and autographs are available, can be framed into "not voting" by forcing their names in. Also, there should be punitive measures for missing legitimate voters.What is the provision for correcting the errors of omissions and commissions?
      Reply
      1. A
        Abhaya Patel
        Nov 10, 2014 at 7:41 am
        Government should encourage the voters, instead of making it compulsory. It is not possible to vote for every body. Interest of doing this the should bring a minimum cutoff voting(eg: 60% or 70%) . So that the candidates will work in the ground level to encourage the voters.
        Reply
        1. B
          bluesky
          Nov 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm
          poor and uneducated people makes excellent decision. So poverty and illiteracy is no excuse for not voting. Without vote democracy is a bankrupt system
          Reply
          1. B
            bluesky
            Nov 10, 2014 at 7:11 am
            voting is not liberty!!! It is very basic foundation of Democracy. Make voting compulsory for state and centre elections as well
            Reply
            1. A
              Alien
              Nov 10, 2014 at 3:29 am
              Superb Move ...it can dramatically help in increasing partition of Citizens in Democracy.. Strong Democracy is Like an Umbrella,Which is Necessary For Our Citizens...
              Reply
              1. B
                Banu Prakash
                Nov 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm
                if the elected are greedy like CM ben in gujrath, shiela dixit, sonia, mayawati....women will be more ruthlesscompulsory voting is to profile the voter than actually count his vote.....the EVM result tally is manited to make win whom the ringmasters want but the votes r analysed to see who confirm to the ringmasters protocol to facilitate them n snub others. according to rumors there is a group of elite rich wanting to even erase crores of potion of world so that they can have morer to themselves
                Reply
                1. B
                  Banu Prakash
                  Nov 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm
                  if the elected are greedy like CM ben in gujrath, shiela dixit, sonia, mayawati....women will be more ruthlesscompulsory voting is to profile the voter than actually count his vote.....the EVM result tally is manited to make win whom the ringmasters want but the votes r analysed to see who confirm to the ringmasters protocol to facilitate them n snub others. according to rumors there is a group of elite rich wanting to even erase crores of potion of world so that they can have morer to themselves
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    brouhaha
                    Nov 10, 2014 at 8:36 am
                    Excellent. Should be made compulsory for all elections. Nothing controversial about it as it is supported by majority
                    Reply
                    1. B
                      brouhaha
                      Nov 10, 2014 at 8:41 am
                      People must vote. This is the basis of democracy. No controversy, no violation. Best, it. Will make things difficult for proxy voters
                      Reply
                      1. V
                        Venk
                        Nov 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm
                        In a free democracy no one should be forced to vote or not to vote. Some may have a fundamental dislike or belief against partiting in the political process.
                        Reply
                        1. C
                          C.
                          Nov 10, 2014 at 8:32 am
                          What a stupid vision. 10% won't vote. ie one crore. You will keep one crore in Jail? Just try.
                          Reply
                          1. T
                            Truthsayer
                            Nov 10, 2014 at 9:12 am
                            Compulsory voting is a law in most developed countries and its slavery there huh?! However governments may give consideration to the illiterates and poor ie. educate them before penalizing!As for those complaining about human rights, mind you tomorrow your soldiers will say the same and abandon from protecting "you" and that would be perfect(sic)!!
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              ah
                              Nov 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm
                              How come you realized this so late?
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                ah
                                Nov 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm
                                What is the RATIONAL behind this? Hindu votes? I think even USA doesn't have this kind of stupidity. You think the voters think it is worthwhile to go and vote for someone who when going for election will be Millionaire and when elected will be Billionaire?. Every election Swiss bank officials dance with JOY.
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  arv
                                  Nov 10, 2014 at 8:57 am
                                  Well, through compulsory voting, you will decide good representatives and compulsory education will come through good representatives working. Your job is to vote a good guy. by good people abstaining, others vote and skew the good party/good representatives and so we saw what we had till these 60 years. so now vote, it is a fundamental duty, it cannot be taking out a liberty.
                                  Reply
                                  1. G
                                    GVG
                                    Nov 10, 2014 at 4:21 am
                                    These are signs of dictatorship? Why not BJP and others bring their source of income under RTI first and vow not to make a criminal a candidate first. Who is stopping them to make these amendmends?
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      Gopal
                                      Nov 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm
                                      This is absolutely brilliant in my view. Democracy requires that everyone should vote. In India and other democracies, the voting percentage is usually well below 50%. I think in last election the percentage of people who voted was high, something like 60% but this was unusual because of Mr Modi. I don't know what percentage usually votes. We need more partition, in particular in a young country like India. Compulsory voting does have some disadvantages and the penalty for not voting must be small.
                                      Reply
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                                        Gopal Sarup
                                        Nov 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm
                                        Exactly. The voter may be hospitalized, may have to go out of town to attend to a critically ill close relative, may have to attend an interview call for a job in another town. There can be so many overriding reasons.
                                        Reply
                                        1. G
                                          Gopal Sarup
                                          Nov 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm
                                          Exactly. The voter may be hospitalized, may have to go out of town to attend to a critically ill close relative, may have to attend an interview call for a job in another town. There can be so many overriding reasons.
                                          Reply
                                          1. G
                                            guest
                                            Nov 10, 2014 at 7:37 am
                                            why doesnt the Government first implement the mandatory attendance of MP;s in the Parliament & provision for penalties in case our MPs dont attend the parliament.Promoting voters to exercise the right is welcome but not coercion
                                            Reply
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