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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  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
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            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
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