Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mandatory Voting?

Gujarat Assembly has passed a bill to make voting mandatory in the local polls. (TOI Link). Some of the excerpts are as follows.
The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was passed by voice vote. Under the bill, if a voter fails to vote for the reasons other than prescribed in the rules, he may be declared a "defaulter voter" and would face consequences for which rules will be framed and placed before the assembly for its approval later. "It is observed that due to low turnout of voters to discharge their duty by exercising their right to vote, the true spirit of the will of the people is not reflected in the electoral mandate," said the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.
Now this has been welcomed by some that this will counter the recent trends of lower voter turnouts. Personally I feel that this is wrong. Democracy is about freedom of choosing for one self. And not voting is also a choice for some for whatever the reason they may have. According to me forced voting very much defeats the idea of democracy. And I still don't get how making everyone vote will improve the governance. This bill seems more draconian than democratic. I am not a legal person but I am sure mandatory voting would go against the basic Fundamental right of Freedom of Expression.

Opinions may differ on this issue.

Update - 20.12.2009
P.S. Apparently 40% of the legislators, including the CM & some other ministers, were absent when the bill was passed. Talk about hypocrisy.

1 comment:

Peyush said...

Definitely, opinions differ on this issue. I think that "To vote" shouldn't just be a fundamental right but a fundamental duty (and a legally enforced duty) in a democracy like ours. When I say 'democracy like ours', it means democracy with a large chunk of people either unaware or negligent toward their duties.
I can't understand a reason why it's not a duty of everyone to vote and choose/not-choose his/her representative. As per our constitution, there are four kind-of duties mentioned; and I consider (again, an opinion and not legal fact) that duty to vote fulfills three out of those four categories- i.e a duty towards nation, state and self.
If a democracy has to be developed, then votes have to be casted. People might argue on the name of freedom, that why I've to pursue excellence/brilliance, or why I've to facilitate education for my children- it should be my choice. But as they say, excess of everything is bad; so is the case with freedom. We're just witnessing how the same freedom has helped USA in becoming one of the world's greatest country; while the same freedom (but misused one) has hampered our country's progress big-time! So there have be to certain rules/procedures in place until we become sufficiently literate/aware about things good for our nation and for ourselves. And mandatory voting is one of them; hence I welcome this move.