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Post-Article 370 and applicability of RPA, any Indian 'ordinarily residing' at a place eligible to vote there: J&K govt

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Jammu, Aug 18: Amid controversy over inclusion of outside voters in Jammu and Kashmir electoral rolls, government officials on Thursday cited rules to assert that any citizen of India who has attained the qualifying age and "ordinarily residing" at a place is eligible to get registered as a voter.

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"With the abrogation of Article 370 and applicability of Representation of the People Act 1950 and 1951, any citizen of India who has attained the qualifying age and 'ordinarily residing' at a place is eligible to get registered in the electoral roll of that place, if not disqualified otherwise," a senior government official said.

The official said prior to the abrogation of Article 370, the assembly electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir were made under the ambit of Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act 1957, wherein only permanent residents were eligible to get registered in the assembly rolls and possessed consequential voting rights in assembly elections.

The official said it is in this context, the media was briefed that any person who fulfills the requirements of registration and is ordinarily residing in the Union territory (owing to any reasons such as profession, studies, posting, etc), can get registered in the electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir.

"It is provided he gets his name deleted from electoral roll of his native constituency, as registration at two places is not permitted under law," the official said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir's Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar said the Union territory is likely to get around 25 lakh additional voters, including outsiders, after the special summary revision of electoral rolls being held for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.

Prior to the abrogation of Article 370, these people were eligible to get registered in the electoral rolls, if they were ordinarily residing in any of assembly segments of Jammu and Kashmir, but had the right to vote only in parliamentary elections and were categorised as Non Permanent Resident (NPR) voters, officials said, adding during the last parliamentary elections, there were approximately 32,000 such NPR voters.

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