Turned 18 but were denied your voter's card? This may change soon
"A proposal to fix more than one qualifying date on a year for enrolment in electoral roll is under consideration of the Government."
Indian Constitution allows citizens to vote--provided there are general or local elections--in their respective constituencies the moment they turn 18. However, an anomaly in the Representation of the People Act of 1950 makes a teenager unqualified to be registered as a voter. The Central Government is now trying to fix this.
As per the section 14 (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, a person becomes eligible to enroll his/her name in the electoral roll as on 1st day of January of the year in which it is so prepared or revised. What this means is that the relevant date for determining that a citizen has turned 18 and is qualified to vote in an election, is January 1 of the year in which the voters list is revised. This implies that all those who turn 18 between January 2 and December 31 in a year, cannot be registered in the electoral rolls, a Times of India report said.
The Election Commission (EC) has requested the Government to amend the Act so as to make it possible for citizens to get a voters card as soon as they turn 18. Minister of Law and Justice, Sadananda Gowda, in a response to a question in the Rajya Sabha on May 6, said, "A proposal to fix more than one qualifying date on a year for enrolment in electoral roll is under consideration of the Government."
As per a report in the Times of India, "In a letter to the law ministry on November 4, the commission suggested doing away with first day of the year as the qualifying date for determining minimum voting age, and allowing new voters to be enrolled soon after turning 18."
"There is no reason why a person turning 18 after the 'January 1 qualifying date' must be denied a chance to vote in case an election is scheduled that year," a commission official said in the report.
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