In a blow to the state government, the Gujarat High Court on Friday stayed the legislation recently passed for making voting compulsory in local body elections. Earlier this month, the government had also announced Rs 100 as fine to those who would skip voting.
The division bench led by Acting chief justice Jayant Patel stayed the law. Two days back, advocate KR Koshti had moved the court challenging the government’s move saying that voting is a right of citizens and not a duty. He also cited various sections of Peoples’ Representation Act to challenge the government’s legislation.
In July, Gujarat became the first state in the country to have a provision for compulsory voting with the state government, through a notification, making voting mandatory in the local body elections.
The government also announced that the 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 mentioned 11 conditional relaxations for the elderly, students, those suffering from illness, mourning a death or attending a wedding on the day.