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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Compulsory voting: Penalty unlikely

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil said that the government is still exploring parameters in connection with the penalty clause for compulsory voting in panchayat elections. 

Addressing mediapersons a day after Governor Vajubhai Vala gave his assent to the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Patil said that though compulsory voting would come into effect in the upcoming gram panchayat elections, the penalty clause would not be included. However, there is a possibility that incentives will be introduced to encourage voting.

The department has approached the Election Commission to seek its suggestion in this regard and is also exploring the exceptions to be made in compulsory voting.

 Nonagenarians, physically challenged, non-residents and the like would be excluded from being penalised if they abstain from voting.

By making voting mandatory, private sector managements can no longer prevent employees from exercising their franchise. “When this type of law comes into force, elections become more meaningful. Incentives, penalty, persuasion, education and enlightenment is the need of the hour to encourage the electorate to vote,” he added.

Citing examples of countries that have implemented the penalty clause, he said that an individual who abstains from voting twice in a row would not be eligible for promotions, increments and in some instances even passports.

The minister said that a task force would be constituted at the State-level to help strengthen the local bodies.

Source: Deccan Herald , 1st May 2015 

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