Compulsory voting bill re-introduced in Gujarat assembly

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 07, 2010 14:17 hrs

Gandhinagar: Unfazed by the Governor sending back Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's much talked about compulsory voting bill, the state government re-introduced the legislation without any changes in the assembly today.

The bill making voting mandatory in elections to self governing bodies was returned by Governor Kamla in April on the grounds the legislative measure is against individual freedom.

Urban development minister Nitin Patel tabled the bill which will be taken up for discussion in the next session of the assembly.

The bill has been re-introduced in the same form despite the fact that it was returned by Kamla in a setback to Modi after it was first passed in the state assembly in December last.

Governor Kamla's comments while returning the bill in were read out by Speaker Daulat Desai.

Kamla had said, "The voters have a freedom not to vote, to force them to vote is against the principles of an individual liberty. The present bill violates this freedom which a citizen is entitled to enjoy under article 21 of the constitution".

The Governor had further said the penal consequences on defaulter voters are not provided in the bill and are left to the state government for which rules are yet to be framed. "This cannot be left to the rule making authority and therefore this provision is both alarming and serious".

Voting is not a right, it is a duty

Moreover, the Governor had also noted that the mandatory voting bill be separated from the 50 per cent reservation for women in the local bodies elections bill.

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