People in preventive detention can't be barred from voting: Election Commission

Right to vote for people in detention
New Delhi, Nov 12: Amid allegations of misuse of police against political rivals during polls, Election Commission has said that people under preventive detention have the right to vote and warned against non-compliance of the directive during Jharkhand polls.

Against the backdrop of allegations that political activists and leaders are being detained by police ahead of elections, EC has written to the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand, reminding him of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act and the Conduct of Election Rules that specify that those in preventive detention are entitled to cast their votes by post.

The letter referred to the provisions in the Conduct of Election Rules under which the administration has to inform the Returning Officer of each constituency about the electors under preventive detention along with their addresses and electoral roll numbers so that postal ballots can be sent to them to allow them to exercise their franchise.

"Instructions may kindly be issued to the authorities concerned to ensure that provisions... are strictly complied with at the elections and there is no ground for any grievance on account of non-compliance of the provision of the said (Conduct of Election) rule," EC has said.

Seeking to remove any ambiguity, it said that in case the authorities are not aware of the address of the Returning Officer of a detainee's constituency, they should send the details to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

Assembly elections will be held in five phases in Jharkhand from November 25.


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