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SC notice on mandatory voting during elections

Posted on Aug 25 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 25 : The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central government and the Election Commission on a PIL seeking the presence of a larger number of voters at the polling booth on voting day to ensure their greater participating for a more representative government.

A bench of Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice S.A.Bobde issued notice as the court was urged to issue direction to the poll panel and the government to ensure larger participation of the registered voters in the elections.

The PIL by Satya Prakash contended that compulsory voting has succeeded in several countries including Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia and the same could be tried in India also.

The petitioner contended that people enjoy the fruits of democracy but shirk away from going to polling booth to exercise their franchise and sought people should be made aware that casting their vote is an important duty which they must discharge without fail.

The PIL petitioner said that the Justice J.S.Verma Committee in its report in 1998 had said that the "duty to vote in an election, especially to participate in a democratic process of the government and pay taxes, should be included in article 51A of the constitution."

To buttress its plea, the petitioner pointed to the Gujarat Local Authority Law (Amendment) Bill that has the provision for mandatory voting and those who skip it have to explain within 30 days for remaining absent to escape punishment.

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