Gujarat Governor signed Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009 for compulsory voting
Governor of Gujarat signed the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009 that makes compulsorily vote in local body elections.
Governor of Gujarat OP Kohli in first week of November 2014 signed the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009 and gave his sanction for implementation.
According to the bill, voters will have to compulsorily vote in local body elections. The bill also provides 50 percent reservation for women in all local body’s elections.
With passage of this bill, Gujarat became the first state of the country to make compulsorily voting in local body elections. The bill was passed by the legislative assembly twice in 2009 and 2011 when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of the state.
Provisions of the Bill says that any person who fails to vote during the local body elections is liable for punishment and will be penalised, however, the nature of penalty that would be taken against defaulters has not be disclosed.
Earlier, the bill was withheld by then Governor Dr. Kamla Beniwal who said that the provision of compulsory voting is violation of Article 21 of the Constitution and forcing voter to vote is against the principles of an individual liberty.
The Bill was cleared by the House in December 2009 and was returned for reconsideration in April 2010. It was again passed in March 2011, but didn’t succeed in getting approval from Kamla Beniwal.
The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009 has amended the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corp Act 1949, the Gujarat Municipalities Act, 1963 and the Gujarat Panchayat's Act 1993. The rule under the amendment applies to the elections to all seven municipal corporations, 159 municipalities, 26 district panchayats, 223 taluka panchayats and in 13713 village panchayats of the state.