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All About Vote And Voting Rights In India

Vote Meaning:

Vote means to form a politician choice for or against someone or something by casting a ballot, raising your hand, speaking your choice aloud, etc.

Voting may be a method for a gaggle, like a gathering or an electorate, so as to form a collective decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns.

A majority vote may be a formal expression of a person's choice for or against some motion (for example, a proposed resolution); for or against some ballot question; or for a particular candidate, selection of candidates, or party. A preferential vote may allow the voter and/or elected representative to cast one, some or many preferences. In elections, many countries use a vote, a practice to stop voters from being intimidated and to guard their political privacy.

Voting often takes place at a polling station; it's voluntary in some countries, compulsory in others, like Australia.

Election commission:

The committee of India (ECI) is an autonomous and permanent constitutional body liable for organising free and fair elections within the Union and States of India. The committee operates under the authority of the Constitution per Article 324 and subsequently enacted the Representation of the People Act.

The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies, state legislative councils, and therefore the offices of the President and vice chairman of the country. The ECI doesn't affect the elections to the urban bodies like Municipalities and Panchayats within the states. The State committee deals with the function of conducting free, fair and impartial elections to the local bodies within the state.

Composition of committee:

Article 324 of the Constitution has made the subsequent provisions with reference to the composition of the election commission:

  • The President appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners.
  • When the other EC is so appointed, the CEC acts because the Election Commission's Chairman.
  • The President also can appoint regional commissioners to help the Commission, if necessary, after consulting with the committee.
  • The tenure of office and therefore the conditions of service of all the commissioners shall be determined by the country's President.
  • Chief Electoral Officer (CEO): Each state to possess a CEO nominated or designated by the ECI in consultation with the government to supervise the election add the State/ UTs.
  • District Election Officer (DEO): The ECI also nominates or designates a politician of the state because the District Election Officer (DEO) in consultation with the government. The DEO works under the general superintendence and control of the CEO.
  • Electoral Registration Officer (ERO): The ERO is liable for the preparation of the electoral roll for every constituency (parliamentary/assembly). An appeal against the order of the ERO during the update of the electoral rolls now lies with District Magistrate.
  • Returning Officer (RO): RO is liable for the conduct of the election during a constituency and returns an elected candidate. The ECI nominates or designates a politician of the govt or agency because the RO in consultation with the government.
  • Power to form rules under the act is conferred to the Central government, which may exercise this power in consultation with the ECI.
The Civil Courts have also been barred to question the legality of any action of the ERO regarding revision of electoral rolls.

Right to Vote:

Voting is one among the foremost impactful belongings you can do for yourself and your community. On a macro level, it is easy to think that you're only one person which your vote doesn't make much of a difference. But consistent with Rachael Cobb, PhD, chair and professor of state at Suffolk University, your vote always matters.

"Some elections are razor-thin. In 2016, the margin of victory for Donald Trump within the swing states that he won was but 1 percent," says Dr. Cobb.

Simply put, voting is power, says Dr. Cobb. "The theory of democracy is that it's a government for and by the people, and therefore the vote is that the basic building block that provides people the facility to regulate their government and to shape what policies they need and the future direction of their town, state, and country," she says, adding that your vote should function "the great equalizer." But that's not always the case.

Who can vote in India?

Our Indian Constitution has particularly laid certain qualifications to become eligible for voting in India.
  • One must be a Citizen of India;
  • One must be above 18 years of age;
  • Must be of sound mind.

If one becomes eligible for voting in India, then the person can participate within the following sorts of elections held in our country:
  • National-level elections;
  • State-level elections;
  • Local government body elections;
  • District level elections.

As per the voting rules:
  • You can cast just one vote.
  • You must have Voter ID or EPIC card or photo identity election card.
  • You can vote only at your registered constituency.
In 2010, voting rights were extended to citizens of India living abroad.

How can you vote?

The two methods the way to cast your vote, are mentioned below:

  1. Visiting the booth: By visiting the pooling booth, one can cast his choose the election. this may clarify no fake vote has been sew that person's behalf.
  2. Using the postal ballot: This vote is by via Post. This facility is obtainable particularly to those people that cannot attend the booth themselves thanks to some unavoidable circumstance; for instance, the soldiers' personnel, electoral officers on duty, policemen who are on duty, people on preventive detention, etc.

Process of Elections in India:

  1. Marking of constituencies elections:
    Constituencies are areas marked for people to elect their representatives from. In India, each constituency has roughly an identical size of the population, meaning the amount officiaries from state to state. This also implies that the amount of seats (example, in Lok Sabha) is in proportion to the population of the state.
     
  2. Preparation of Electoral Rolls Elections:
    The constituencies have people that vote for his or her representatives or can even represent elections themselves. Electoral rolls 'are the lists of voters in one constituency. In India, there's a universal franchise by law. Meaning, that each individual, above the age of 18 features a right to vote and choose his representative. then all their names should appear in their respective electoral rolls.
     
  3. Registration of Political Parties:
    India allows every eligible person to face for elections, as long as they need a 'ticket'. A party registers for elections and individuals file their nomination papers too. Then, an individual each gets a 'ticket' from the party they're representing and he can formally contest the elections. Every party features a symbol that represents them, for instance BJP features a lotus flower.
     
  4. Political Campaigning Elections:
    Each party contesting elections features a particular ideology and set of policies. they have to carry political campaigns for around fortnight so as to publicize them and gather voters. Ideally, they have to try to this ethically by convincing voters with good policies and plans. In India, they're given a specific limit of expenditure, beyond which they can't spend extra money.
     
  5. Voting Day Preparations Elections:
    Today is finally when voters vote for his or her choice of representative in election booths. Earlier, people want to vote by ballot paper, but nowadays, they use EVM (electronic voting machines) by simply pressing a button on their party symbol. The votes are them later counted and therefore the candidate with the bulk of the votes wins the election.

Voting Basis:

  1. Decision of individuals
    The first parameter considers that for what reason or on what basis people voted for the candidate. Where 52% people vote on work basis and 45% People voted on the recognition of single man.
     
  2. If you Voted, does your choice for candidate match your parents or your family member's choice?
    According to the survey conducted, 12% for peoples matches their candidate's choice whom they're voted 23% doesn't matched that and 65% of individuals says that perhaps they match maybe not. meaning 65% peoples don't discuss about the voting reception.
     
  3. Does one know what's manifesto?
    According to survey only 54% of individuals know that what's manifesto. And 46% people don't realize it.
     
  4. Does one know the difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?
    According to survey report 80% people don't know what's difference Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha where 80% people know that.
     
  5. Does one vote on the idea of polling survey of Indian news channels?
    According to survey report 66% people vote by themselves but 34 you look after people vote on basis of stories channel surveys.
     
  6. Vote on the idea of faith
    Consistent with survey report 33% of individuals vote on basis of faith . Means they people vote for the candidate who belongs to their religion. Where 65% of individuals don't see the faith of that candidate to whom they're voting. 2% peoples are there who vote on the idea of faith sometimes.
     
  7. Does one believe term "VOTE FOR NOTE"?
    According to survey report 10% people take money for giving the vote for the candidate where 76% are loyal who didn't take any sort of bribe for voting.
     
  8. Does one know what's NOTA?
    According to survey report 47% of individuals don't know what's NOTA whether 53% people know about it.
     
  9. If you recognize what's NOTA. have you ever used it yet in any of the elections?
    According to survey report 53% people knows about NOTA but only 14% of individuals use it and 86% people vote for the candidate they need.

As studies of aggregate data reveal, in spite of the decreasing importance of the effect of urbanization, the extent of electoral participation has been increasing with socio-economic development. Such a pattern of increase is in line with the actual socio-political situation of every State. Some studies supported the survey of people show the essential faith of the electorate within the election system. Thus, the increasing electorate reflects confidence in electoral politics.

It are often said that, though there are several defects, the electorate has fundamental faith within the voting system. it's important that such fundamental faith within the core of the democratic regime, namely the election system, has been maintained for five decades, despite several political crises. because the popularity of the once dominant Congress party has gradually decreased, the peculiar pattern of party preference of every State in line with the actual socio-political situation, especially castes religions, backwardness, et al., has come to the surface.

As a result, there has been a transparent differentiation of the party system since the 1980's, and therefore the era of multi-party systems and coalition governments has come. Many parties have grown supported particular ethnic groups like castes and religion. But such increase and strengthening of regional parties supported some particular ethnos has not necessarily exposed the matter of national integration due to the aforementioned basic faith within the democratic regime.

Many ethnicity-based parties also are likely to be patronage-based parties. during a very heterogeneous country like India, a celebration could also be supported some specific ethnic groups, but it also must articulate and integrate other ethnicities so as to grow. so as to articulate and integrate other ethnicities, one effective strategy is to require moderate policy and distribute patronage or interests to other ethnic groups. Conversely, if an ethnicity-based party takes a radical and disintegrative policy with no patronage to be distributed, it cannot attract the support of other ethnicities.

Thus, the electoral process during a heterogeneous country has two effects on the party system:

  1. differentiation on the idea of a specific ethnic also as a socio-economic situation and
  2. an integrative effect.

Problems faced by people casting vote Challenges in India:

In India, there are a few of problems that substitute the way of free and fair elections. a number of these are:
The rigging of poll booths: Some big political parties have a clear advantage where they will use a more than money power to 'buy' votes with bribery. Even while campaigning, smaller parties have a disadvantage since they don't have the maximum amount money or power because the bigger parties.

Populism is additionally a serious problem in India: Parties in India follow caste politics where parties give the 'ticket' to an individual who is from a scheduled caste in order that in his/ her constituency, he's bound to win.

This entrenches power in just one caste and at an equivalent time violates the sacred purpose of reservations.

Awareness of voting rights:

It has become a standard ritual to speak bitter about any candidate or an elected leader of any legislative assembly or the parliament. The fault-finding then comes right down to the 'System' and the way democracy isn't working because it should. However, a really little room has been given to 'What the people can do' to strengthen the democratic roots and convey a few changes within the system. even as it is the responsibility of the elected leader to fulfil the well-beings of the voters, an equivalent is that the need for the people of India to contribute to picking the right leader for his or her representation.

Democracy has given people a strong right- that's to VOTE. Voting is that the fundamental basis of democracy's 'Of the people, for the people, and by the people' slogan. Therefore, instead of enjoying it as a vacation, one must vote if he truly wants to contribute to the nation-building process and bring a few changes. A Citizen should actually not got to find any reason to Vote. It must be done as a compulsive duty although there's no legal obligation to vote.

Here are some points which might aid in enlightening voters about the importance of Voting:

Every Single Vote Is Significant: Needless to mention, every citizen's vote is counted within the polling process. If the people are equally divided between two candidates, one single vote are often a game-changer and a clincher. we've seen within the past how one vote from an MP can decide the autumn of the government. precisely the same way, one person's vote can confirm the win/fall of an aspiring MP or MLA.

Origin of the Change: Aside from the protests, voting may be a highly effective medium to possess the change that we would like within the government. Our nation has already witnessed how a non-performing government gets dethroned by the spirit of wanting a change. In recent years, there's a considerable rise within the voting percentage and other people are truly loving to be the 'Change Makers'.

Isn't it exciting that an individual can choose the leader of the country right from the age of 18?

Non-choosers get NOTA: Sometimes, it's possible that one doesn't want any single candidate to be elected from all who are contesting. The committee has made a special provision of NOTA. It stands for None of The Above. Hence if none of the candidates fit into your criteria, just hit the NOTA option and voice the opinion. Introduction of this alternative is believed to play a big role within the future. within the late future, it's going to even be possible that the NOTA will decide the re-elections with fresh candidates.

A Sense of Pride: We must honour the proper of voting given by the constitution of India. The youngsters are well excited to exercise their right to vote as soon as they turn 18. the sensation after having cast a vote infuses a way of pride for being a responsible citizen. As are often witnessed from the sharing of the inked finger on social media. The trend is constant to realize popularity amongst the youngers and therefore the elders also.

Gone are the times when it had been required for people to motivate them to vote. The vote share for the General Election of 2014 was 8% above the previous election. vote within the Lok Sabha Election 2019 was 67%. Voter awareness program has become successful in its mission and therefore the vote share continues to extend till date in many state elections. With this increasing number of voter turnout, we'll soon reach the 80-90% golden mark.

Voting rights of prisoners:

When around 90 crore Indian citizens (Economic Times 2019) were set to choose the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, approximately four lakh Indian citizens weren't given an opportunity to vote.

These citizens are prisoners, denied their right to franchise supported Section 62(5) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951:
  • No person shall vote at any election if he's confined during a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is within the lawful custody of the police: as long as nothing during this sub-section shall apply to an individual subjected to preventive detention under any law for the nonce effective.
     
  • India, which is usually mentioned because the world's "largest democracy," has been denying the foremost fundamental right of suffrage to its four lakh eligible voters. India is one among the only a few countries to have a blanket ban on all prisoners. Such a ban affects detainees, undertrials and convicts alike. Only those who are out on bail can vote (Election Commission of India 2019).
This issue has not been discussed too often within the last 70 years. In 1997, the Supreme Court of India (SC) (AIR 1997 SC 2814) while rejecting the petition seeking the proper to vote for prisoners provided some reasons for why such a ban was in place:
  1. Resource crunch as permitting everyone in prison also to vote would require deployment of a much larger police and greater security arrangements.
  2. An individual who is in prison as a result of his own conduct cannot claim equal freedom.
  3. To stay persons with criminal background far away from the election scene.

However, many of our legislators, ironically, have criminal cases registered against them (Beniwal and Kumaresan 2019). In 2018, a nation-wide strike was organized by prisoners within the us (US), and one among their demands was they're given the proper to vote (IWOC 2018).

"The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, then called 'ex-felons' must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count." one among the prisoners was quoted saying: "I will pay taxes but I won't be ready to vote…It lets me know that I'm not truly a citizen ... I will be able to haven't any say within the political process or the direction of the nation" (Pilkington 2018).

In April 2019 in India, three law students filed a public interest litigation (PIL) within the SC, seeking right to vote for the prisoners and an amendment to the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. While this case will take its course within the coming months, it's important for us to reimagine the longer term of the criminal justice system in our country.

Can we need a retributive system, where citizens are condemned and forgotten, or should we aim for a reformative system which aims to enhance the structure of society, nurturing the law-breakers and integrate them back to the society? Right to vote for prisoners is one step towards shaping our criminal justice system into a caring, and reform-oriented institution, one that abides by the universally accepted human rights values.

Problems faced by parties:

  • What are the varied challenges faced by political parties?

There are many challenges faced by Political parties which are explained below:
  • Lack of internal democracy within parties is that the first challenge.
  • Across the world, one can see that there's a growing concentration of power within the hands of few or just one leader. On what transpires inside the party, ordinary members of the party don't get sufficient information. Ordinary members are unable to influence decisions as they lack sufficient connections.
  • Decisions are taken within the name of the party, by leaders having more power.
  • Parties don't conduct internal regular elections; organizational meetings aren't conducted and don't maintain a register of the membership.
  • Since an excessive amount of power is wielded by few leaders within the party, those that afflict the leadership are unable to continue working within the party.
  • Personal loyalty to the leader becomes more important than the loyalty to party policies and principles. Due to the system of succession thanks to dynasty within the political parties, ordinary and hardworking party members are unable to rise to the highest.
  • A transparent and an open system of functioning isn't followed by political parties, which prevents deserving party members from rising to the highest.
  • Relatives or people on the brink of the leaders of the party are given favours which are unfair to other party workers. Members of only one family hold complete control in many parties. this is often not fair to other members of that party. Hence people that don't have popular support or adequate experience get the positions of power which is unhealthy for a democracy.
  • The third challenge is during elections there's a rising role of muscle power and money power in political parties. Candidates who can raise money or those that have money are usually nominated by the Political Parties. Political parties have supported many criminals for contesting elections.
  • Short-cuts are wont to win elections since parties' sole focus is on winning elections
  • Decisions and policies of the political parties are usually influenced by organisations or rich people who give funds to the party. Across the planet, thanks to a decline within the ideological differences among political parties, there's no significant difference, thereby reducing option to the voters.
  • Not giving meaningful option to the voters is that the fourth challenge that's often faced by political parties. Election law bill: After independence, there was a requirement to carry general elections to elect a very representative government on the idea of universal adult suffrage. Article 325 of the constitution ensures universal suffrage and provides that nobody be ineligible for inclusion in, or to say to be included during a special, electoral roll-on grounds of faith, race, caste or sex.


Universal Adult Suffrage:

Universal adult suffrage is that the right to vote of all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social station, race, or ethnicity, subject only to minor exceptions. The ECI as an independent constitutional authority was therefore brought into force from November 26th, 1949. to supply a legal framework for the conduct of elections, Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act, 1950, Representation of the People Act, 1951 and Delimitation Commission Act of 2002.

Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1950:

Key Provisions:
  • Lays down procedures for delimitation of constituencies.
  • Provides for the allocation of seats within the House of the People and within the Legislative

Assemblies and Legislative Councils of States.

  • Lays procedure for the preparation of electoral rolls and therefore the manner of filling seats.
  • Lays down the qualification of voters.
  • The President of India has been conferred the facility to amend orders delimiting constituencies, only after consulting the ECI.
  • In Lok Sabha, there's a reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • The ECI has the facility to work out the constituencies to be reserved for scheduled tribes within the states of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura
  • Under Article 82 of the Constitution, the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census.
  • After coming into force, the commencement of the Act, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission. This Delimitation Commission demarcates the boundaries of the Parliamentary Constituencies as per provisions of the Delimitation Act.
  • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the idea of the 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • Notwithstanding the above, the Constitution of India was specifically amended in 2002 to not have delimitation of constituencies till the primary census after 2026.
  • Thus, this Constituencies carved out on the idea of the 2001 census shall still be operational till the primary census after 2026.
  • As far as possible, every state gets representation within the Lok Sabha in proportion to its population as per census figures.

The Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951:

  • It regulates the particular conduct of elections and by-elections.
  • It provides administrative machinery for conducting elections.
  • It deals with the registration of political parties.
  • It specifies the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of the homes.
  • It provides provisions to curb corrupt practices and other offences.
  • It lays down the procedure for settling doubts and disputes arising out of elections.

Qualification for Contesting Elections in India:

The Parliament has laid down the subsequent qualifications (for contesting election) within the RPA, 1951:

  • An individual must be an elector within the constituency.
  • The person must be a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe in any state/UTs if he/she wants to contest a seat reserved for them.
  • The minimum age for becoming an MLA/MPs (Lok Sabha) is 25 years.
  • At the panchayat and municipality levels, the minimum regulation for contesting elections is 21 years.

Right to Vote:

Apart from Article 326 of the Constitution (that guarantees the proper to vote to each citizen above the age of 18 years, unless disqualified by any law), Section 62 of the RPA,1951 also ensures that each person who is within the electoral roll of that constituency is entitled to vote.

One person can vote at one constituency only and just for just one occasion during a particular election. If an individual is confined during a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation, then he is not eligible for voting, however, within the case of preventive custody, he can vote. In 2014, the ECI had said that the person under preventive custody had the proper to vote, but not under-trials and convicts.

However, the Act allows those serving sentences but 2 years to contest elections from prison.

(NOTA) None of the Above was introduced within the ballot papers/ Electronic mechanical device (EVMs) in General Election to the State Assemblies in 2013.

VVPAT: Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail is an independent system attached with the EVMs that allows voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended. it had been introduced in 2013, after the SC allowed the ECI for the 'requirement of free and fair elections' in its verdict within the People's Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India case (2013).

Provisions associated with Political Parties:

  • Every association or body so as to become a political party must be registered with the ECI whose decision regarding registration are going to be final.
  • Registered political parties, in course of your time, can get recognition as 'State Party' or National Party'.
  •  Change in name only and address of a registered party must be communicated to the ECI.

The ECI cannot derecognize a celebration

  • Voluntary contributions by a person or company within India ( aside from a government company) can be accepted by the registered party
  • A company can donate any amount of cash to any party.
  • There is no obligation of the corporate to report such donations in its profit and loss account.
  • It is mandatory for the political parties to undergo the ECI an inventory of donations they received above Rs. 2,000
  • Political parties cannot receive quite Rs 2000 as cash donations.
  • Now, political parties are eligible to simply accept contributions from foreign companies defined under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.
  • Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Individuals contesting elections need to file an affidavit, declaring their criminal records, assets & liabilities and academic qualification
  • After getting elected, MPs are required to file a declaration of assets and liabilities with the Speaker of Lok Sabha and therefore the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
  • These declarations need to be made by MPs within 90 days of taking their seats in Parliament.

Right to Information:

Candidates got to furnish information whether he/she is accused of any offence punishable with imprisonment of two years or more during a pending case or has been convicted of an offence.

Voting Through Postal Ballot:

  • Any class of person are often notified by the ECI in consultation with the concerned government which can give their votes by postal ballot
  • Section 126 of the RPA, 1951prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the amount of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll during a constituency.
  • Violation of the provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment upto a period of two years, or with fine or both.
  • Section 126A prohibits the conduct of poll and dissemination of its results during the amount mentioned.

Ceiling on Expenditure:

A candidate contesting polls in large states can spend up to Rs 70 lakh within the Lok Sabha election and Rs 28 lakh in an Assembly election.

Counting of Votes:

At every election where a poll is taken, the votes are counted by, or under the supervision of the Returning Officer (RO), and contesting candidate, his election agent and his counting agents. Destruction, loss, damage or tampering of ballot papers at the time of counting must be reported by the RO to the ECI.

Corrupt Practices:

All government or non-government officials are included within the scope of corrupt practices.

Promoting Enmity:

Any person who promotes or attempts to market on grounds of faith, race, caste, community or language, feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens of India are often punished with imprisonment for a term which can reach 3 years.

Prohibition of public meetings during a period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll.

Disqualification of MPs and MLAs:

The RPA, 1951 lays down certain rules for disqualification of MPs and MLAs.
  • Section 8 (3) of the Act states that if an MP or MLA is convicted for the other crime and is sent to jail for two years or more, he/ she is going to be disqualified for six years from the time of release.
     
  • Albeit an individual is on bail after the conviction and his appeal is pending for disposal, he is disqualified from contesting an election.
     
  • Section 8(4) allowed convicted MPs, MLAs and MLCs to continue in their posts, provided they appealed against their conviction/sentence in higher courts within 3 months of the date of judgment by the court.
     
  • The Supreme Court in July 2013 struck down section 8(4) of the RPA, 1951 and declared it ultra vires and held that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction. Challenges;
     
  • False Disclosures:
    Even after the supply of the declaration of assets and liabilities within the RPA act, candidates don't disclose all the assets and supply wrong and incomplete information regarding their assets, liabilities, and income and academic qualifications.
     
  • The Bureaucratization of Politics:
    In spite of the inclusion of several provisions aimed toward making the ECI as an independent body, it's still hooked in to the Union for financial matters that paves the way for political parties to manage to urge the officers in their favour through money and muscle power.
     
  • Dual Responsibility of the ECI:
    The ECI doesn't have independent staff of its own so whenever elections happen, it's to depend on staff of Central and State Governments hence the twin responsibility of the executive staff, to the govt for ordinary administration and to the ECI for electoral administration isn't conducive to the impartial and efficient functioning of the Commission.
     
  • Misuse of state Machinery:
    The RPAs lack clear provisions and guidelines on the matters related to the misuse of official machinery that provides an unfair advantage to the ruling party at the time of elections and results in the misuse of public funds for furthering the prospects of candidates of a particular party. The misuse of official machinery takes different forms, like the difficulty of advertisements at the value of government and public exchequer highlighting their achievements, disbursements out of the discretionary funds at the disposal of the ministers, use of state vehicles for canvassing etc.

Amendments:

Linking electoral roll data with Aadhaar:

The 1950 Act provides that an individual may apply to the electoral registration officer for inclusion of their name within the electoral roll of a constituency. After verification, if the officer is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to registration, he will direct the applicant's name to be included within the electoral roll. The Bill adds that the electoral registration officer may require an individual to furnish their Aadhaar number for establishing their identity.

If their name is already within the electoral roll, then the Aadhaar number may be required for authentication of entries within the roll. Persons won't be denied inclusion within the electoral roll or have their names deleted from the roll, if they're unable to furnish Aadhaar number thanks to sufficient cause as prescribed. Such persons could also be permitted to furnish alternate documents prescribed by the central government.

Qualifying date for enrolment in electoral roll:

Under the 1950 Act, the qualifying date for enrolment within the electoral roll is January 1 of the year during which such roll is being prepared or revised. this suggests that an individual who turns 18 (i.e., eligible to vote) after January 1 can enroll within the electoral roll only the roll is prepared/ revised subsequent year. The Bill amends this to supply four qualifying dates during a civil year, which can be January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

Requisitioning of premises for election purposes:

The 1951 Act permits the government to requisition premises needed or likely to be needed for getting used as polling stations, or for storing ballot boxes after a poll has
been conducted. The Bill expands the needs that such premises are often requisitioned. These include using the premises for counting, storage of voting machines and poll-related material, and accommodation of security forces and polling personnel.

Gender-neutral provisions:

The 1950 Act permits certain persons who are ordinarily resident during a constituency to register in electoral rolls. Such persons include those holding a service qualification, like members of the armed forces or central government employees posted outside India. The wives of such persons also are deemed to be ordinarily residing within the same constituency if they reside with them. The 1951 Act enables the wife of a person holding a service qualification to vote either face to face or by postal ballot. The Bill replaces the term 'wife' with 'spouse' in both the Acts.

Criticism:
Over 23 organizations and 500 individuals have flayed the move to link Aadhaar with voter ID and have written to the committee of India (ECI) to withdraw the proposal.
A month ago, the ECI had said that the move would help comb out duplicate or maybe non-existent voters. the govt had approached the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with the proposal to allow the ECI to use Aadhaar for registration of latest voters.

While sources at the ECI have confirmed that the proposal was still into account , those critical of the move said that it might create mass disenfranchisement, increase voter fraud and need the proposal to be withdrawn.

One of the signatories, Srinivas K, told TOI that using Aadhaar for cleaning up databases of other government registries, like MGNREGA and PDS, have led to arbitrary deletion of names of citizens from the system with none notice.

In the letter, a replica of which is with the TOI, they need stated that the move could fundamentally alter the structure of democracy, undermine electoral democracy and impact voters' trust within the electoral system.

The letter further noted that the Election Commission's proposal would violate the judgment of the Supreme Court within the Puttaswamy case, which limited the utilization of Aadhaar authentication solely to welfare programmes.

The letter further elaborated that in 2018, election officials from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh linked Aadhaar data with voter ID cards after which individuals found that a minimum of 55 lakh voters had been arbitrarily disenfranchised. Despite all these the legislature successfully passed the bill and is now implemented.

Written By Kriti Gupta - B.A.LL. B (2020-25), Lloyd Law College

Suggested Articles on Voting Rights:

  1. Introduction To Voting Rights In Reference To Prisoners And Tribes
  2. Voting Rights in India to Non-Resident Indians
  3. International Status the Right to Vote
  4. Right to Vote V/s Right Not to Vote
  5. Election Rights: Preventing Fraud And Manipulation
  6. Laws related to Electronic Voting Machine All you Need to know about E.V.M
  7. Compulsory Voting In India A Step Towards Real Democracy
  8. Whether Indians In Pressing Need For Negative Voting: Analysis of The Concept And Feasibility In India
  9. Whether differential voting right are against the principle of corporate governance wherein differential treatment can be done among shareholder holding equal or greater number of shares?

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