No Plans to Make Voting Compulsory: Moily

New Delhi
No Plans to Make Voting Compulsory: Moily
Close on the heels of the Election Commission terming the idea as impractical, Government today said it has no plans to frame a law making voting compulsory.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said there were no plans to make voting compulsory. "No sir," was his reply to a question on whether government was contemplating a law on the subject.

Explaining the reasons, he said the issue was considered by the Dinesh Goswami Committee on Electoral Reforms in 1990. "But the measure was, however, not favoured because of the practical difficulties involved in its implementation," he said.

The Law Minister said the Centre has not received any proposal from the state governments on making voting compulsory.

Recently, Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla had said compulsory voting was "not practical."

"Suppose 200 million people did not vote, is it possible to file a case against each of them," he had asked. There were many people working in unorganised sector who could not come to vote, the CEC had said.

Chawla had said Parliament or assemblies would have to debate such issues and enact laws. "It is the choice of Parliament. We have no machinery that would help make everybody vote," he had said, adding that people would have to involve themselves in the democratic process and vote.

In one of his blog postings recently, senior BJP leader L K Advani had supported the idea of compulsory voting, saying 25 countries have compulsory voting system. "...I feel political thinkers in India also must apply their mind to this," he had said.

Recently, the Gujarat government's bill to make voting compulsory in local bodies elections had run into rough weather.

State Governor Kamla Beniwal had returned the compulsory voting bill passed by the Assembly during the winter session in December last year for re-consideration by the House.

The Governor is believed to have raised objections to some provisions of the bill, including the one which sought to declare a person guilty if he or she failed to turn up for voting without taking prior permission of the election authorities.
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