A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking direction to the Centre and the Election Commission to take steps for compulsory voting in parliament and assembly elections to enhance voter turnout.
The plea said such a move will also improve the quality of democracy, promote political participation and secure the right to vote.
It said low voter turnout is a persistent problem in India and compulsory voting can help increase the turnout, particularly among marginalised communities.
The petition by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said compulsory voting will ensure that every citizen has a voice and the government is representative of the people's wishes.
“When voter turnout is high, the government is more accountable to the people and is more likely to act in their best interests,” it said.
It said compulsory voting promotes political participation by making voting a civic duty, and when the voting is compulsory, people are more likely to take an interest in politics and get engaged in the democratic process.
“This can help overcome voter apathy, which is a significant problem in India. Many people are disillusioned with the political system and feel that their votes do not count. Compulsory voting can help to restore faith in the democratic process and encourage people to become more involved in politics,” the petition said.
It added that compulsory voting ensures that elected representatives are chosen by a larger and more representative group of people, which will increase the legitimacy of the government and enhance the quality of democracy.
The petitioner said compulsory voting has been successfully implemented in countries like Australia, Belgium and Brazil and they have seen significant increase in voter turnout and improvements in the quality of democracy.
As an alternative prayer, the plea urged the court to direct the Election Commission to use its plenary constitutional power to increase voters’ turnout in the elections for parliament and state assemblies.
Alternatively, it also sought a direction to the Law Commission to prepare a report on compulsory voting.
-With PTI Input