Ahmedabad, Aug 6: The Gujarat government today said a fine of Rs 100 will be slapped on registered electors who fail to cast their vote in the local body polls in the state without providing a valid reason for missing out.
The announcement -- made by state Panchayat, Rural Housing and Rural Development Minister Jayantibhai Kavadia -- comes after Gujarat government made voting compulsory at these polls.
Kavadia said that rules as well as exemptions under the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Act, 2009 -- which has a provision to make voting compulsory in local body polls -- have been cleared by his department.
"As per the rules framed under this Act, a fine of Rs 100 will be imposed on the voter for failing to cast his or her vote and subsequently failing to provide a valid reason for the same," he added. Now, this rule will be applicable for all local body polls which are to be held across the state in October.
Giving details about the exemptions, secretary in the state Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs department, CJ Gothi, stated that the fine will be imposed only when the designated authority does not find the reason given by the defaulting voter to be satisfactory.
"We have listed several exemptions as we understand that many people will have genuine reasons for being absent. Relief will be given to senior citizens above the age of 75, those who are more than 75 per cent handicapped and those who have shifted to some other place more than six months back," Gothi said.
"We will also exempt those who are hospitalised when voting takes place, those who went out of station for work or for education and those who have to remain present at a social function involving relatives.
They will be exempted from penalty," he added. Earlier, in November last year, Gujarat Governor OP Kohli had given his approval to the controversial Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, which has the provision for penal action against citizens who fail to exercise their franchise in local body polls.
The said Act came into effect in July this year after the Gujarat government notified it. However, the rules were not announced at the time. The local body polls for 253 municipalities, 208 taluka panchayats, 26 district panchayats and six municipal corporations are expected to be held in October this year.