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Gujarat passes mandatory voting bill

December 19, 2009 19:33 IST
Gujarat government on Saturday moved the controversial 'The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009' in the state assembly which will make voting compulsory in all local body elections of the state.

With this, Gujarat became the first state to introduce such a law in the country.

Speaking on the bill, state urban development minister Nitin Patel termed the move as pioneering and aimed at making democracy more representative and meaningful.

The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009 amended the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corp Act 1949, the Gujarat Municipalities Act, 1963 and the Gujarat Panchayat's Act 1993.

With state assembly passing the bill, it will become mandatory for all registered voters in Gujarat to vote and those absent will be summoned by the local election officer to submit a valid reason for being absent with proof within a month.

The new rule applies to the elections to all seven municipal corporations, 159 municipalities, 26 district panchayats, 223 taluka panchayats and in 13,713 village panchayats of the state.

The new amendment empowers the election officer to declare people who do not cast their vote as defaulter voters and subsequently, the government will decide on the action to be taken against the defaulters.   

Source: ANI