Setting precedents: Gujarat becomes first state to make voting mandatory in local body elections

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Gandhinagar, Nov 10: The Gujarat Governor has given go-ahead to the Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill-2009 which makes voting compulsory in the local body elections.This Bill also provides for 50 per cent reservation for women in all local body elections. Once comes into effect, the Gujarat will become the first State to have the provision of compulsory voting.

Informing about the same, State Assembly secretary D M Patel said on Sunday that the Governor OP Kohli had signed the Bill. He said the Bill was sanctioned by the Governor three days back.

The Bill which was first introduced the Assembly in December 2009 and passed by a majority vote, encompasses municipal corporations, municipalities and the district, taluka and village panchayats.

Elections to six municipal corporations, 31 district panchayats, 231 taluka panchayats and 53 nagarpalikas in Gujarat are scheduled to be held in October 2015.

According to reports, Bill has been passed twice by the Gujarat Government led by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, but did not turn into reality due to stiff resistance by former Governor Kamla Beniwal. Beniwal declined the Bill on the ground that it violates the "freedom which a citizen is entitled to enjoy under Article 21 of the Constitution."

The Bill puts that a person, who does not vote in the local body elections, will be liable for penal action. But at the same time, it does not specify the type of action that would be taken against a defaulter.

OneIndia News

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