Delhi HC on compulsory voting: The Delhi High Court, on Friday, rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Centre and Election Commission of India (ECI) to take necessary steps to make voting mandatory in the Parliament and State Assembly elections.
The court said that casting a vote is a matter of choice and right and the judiciary cannot pass such directions. The petitioner decided to withdraw the petition noting the court's observation as the bench said "casting vote is their (eligible citizen of India for voting) right, their choice".
The Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a practising Advocate and BJP leader had also sought direction from the Law Commission to prepare a report on Compulsory Voting. The plea stated that low voter turnout is a persistent problem in India. Compulsory voting can help to increase voter turnout, particularly among marginalized communities. It ensures that every citizen has a voice and that the government is representative of the people's wishes.
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Compulsory voting implemented in some countries
When voter turnout is high, the government is more accountable to the people and is more likely to act in their best interests. Compulsory voting has been implemented successfully in countries like Australia, Belgium, and Brazil. These countries have seen significant increases in voter turnout and improvements in the quality of democracy, stated the plea.
The Constitution provides for the right to vote as a fundamental right under Article 326. This right is subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law. Compulsory voting can be implemented as a reasonable restriction in the interest of ensuring the smooth functioning of democracy, the plea read.
(With ANI inputs)