An eligible voter violating the provision for compulsory voting in the local body elections would have to pay a fine of Rs 100, according to the draft rules regarding punitive measures under the Gujarat Local Authorities Act (Amendment) 2009.
The draft rules also mention 11 conditional relaxations for the elderly, students, those suffering from illness, mourning a death or attending a wedding on the day.
Sources in the Urban Development Department, which last week released notification for the Act, maintained that “no harsh measures”, but a Rs 100 fine has been fixed for those violating the rule of mandatory voting.
An appellate officer would be appointed to decide whether the person is a defaulter after hearing the reasons for his “absenteeism”.
“Actions like cancellation of a subsidy or civic service were discussed. But, no harsh measures like that have been finalised. Instead, a fine to the tune of Rs 100 has been fixed,” said a top official.
The sources said the government would soon release a notification in this regard.
No action would be taken against those who failed to cast their vote due to hospitalisation, competitive examination, interview, travel outside Gujarat to attend a wedding event or a funeral, the sources said, adding that government and private sector employees, travelling due to transfer, have also been exempted from paying the fine.
Besides, voters who are 75 years old or above, and those with 75 per cent disabilities, have also been exempted, the draft rules said.
An appellate officer at every election office across Gujarat would be appointed. Absentees would be first sent a notice and later a hearing would be held, the sources said.
The Bill that was earlier passed twice with a majority vote by the Gujarat government, then led by Narendra Modi, had faced stiff resistance from former Governor Kamla Beniwal in 2010 and 2011 on the grounds that forcing people to vote violates Article 21 of the Constitution.