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Gujarat HC stays compulsory voting in local polls.

Gujarat HC stays compulsory voting in local polls.
In a setback to the Gujarat government, which recently framed the rules making voting compulsory in the local elections, the Gujarat High Court stayed its implementation after a lawyer moved a public interest litigation challenging the constitutional validity of the same. Local body elections are due in Gujarat later this year.
The High Court Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice J.B. Pardiwala admitted the petition and stayed implementation of the mandatory voting in the municipal and district panchayat polls.Recently, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel decided to implement the mandatory voting bill, which was passed in the Assembly in 2014.Subsequently, the State government also framed rules pertaining to the penal actions to be initiated against those who do not exercise their franchise.
The law empowers the State Election Commission to declare an absent voter as “defaulter”, except in case of illness or if he or she is out of station.Gujarat was the first State to make voting compulsory in local polls after Governor O.P. Kohli sanctioned the last November the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, which was turned back by his predecessor Kamla Beniwal for reconsideration.Ms. Beniwal had contended that the proposed law violated Article 19(1)(A) of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, including the right not to vote.
Even the constitutional experts and former election commissioner Hs Brahma had dubbed the law as "impractical" and "impossible to implement" in the country.Originally, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2010 had come out with an idea to make the voting mandatory in the local bodies' elections.
The then Modi government had passed the bill first time in the State assembly in 2011 and was sent by the Governor's nod. The Governor returned the bill asking the administration to reconsider the provision but the Modi government against passed the bill with the provision with majority vote amidst walkout from the main opposition party from the house.

Gujarat HC stays compulsory voting in local polls. Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Dilip Rathod

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