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Gujarat Makes Voting Compulsory in Local Polls
Jul 30, 2015

Gujarat became the first state to have a provision for compulsory voting with the state government putting out a notification in this regard. Besides making voting mandatory in the local body polls, there is a provision for reservation of 50 per cent seats for women in municipal corporations, municipalities, and village panchayats.

  • With the government notifying the Gujarat Local Authorities Act (Amendment) 2009, a voter in the state would now invite punitive action in case he or she fails to vote in the local body elections without any acceptable reason. 

  • The local body elections in the state are likely to be held in September and October. 

  • However, the notification has not specified what punishment would be meted out to voters who fail to exercise their franchise.

  • The notification issued on July 22 said, the state government would come out with an ordinance within the Act for a further amendment. 

  • The decision to bring out an ordinance is for inclusion of a clause on disqualification of office bearers if they fail to vote without a valid reason, and then notification. 

  • Now, whether a common man or an elected councillor, everyone will now have to compulsorily vote. 

  • An elected member of a local body or an office bearer, according to the ordinance, wound stand disqualified in the event he or she does not vote.

  • The state government had to wait for five years for getting the Bill cleared from the Governor’s office. Introduced first in 2009, the Bill was cleared by the Governor only in November 2014.


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