New Delhi, July 2: The Ministry of Law and Justice on Thursday issued a notification to approve the amendments suggested by the Election Commission to the current set of voting rules. The EC amendments allow usage of postal ballots by voters aged above 65 or those hit by coronavirus. Bihar Elections 2020 Likely on Time, EC Firm on Allowing Postal Ballots For Voters Hit by COVID-19.
The move comes ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar - where the tenure of incumbent legislature is scheduled to expire on November 29.
The Law Ministry, in its notification issued today, announced that senior citizens aged above 65 would be allowed to register their votes using postal ballots. The facility would also be extended to registered voters who would be placed under home or institutional quarantine after testing COVID-19 positive.
Notification for Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules 2020
Notification for Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules 2020 - for extending Postal Ballot Facility for electors above age of 65yrs & Covid+ve under home/institutional quarantined pic.twitter.com/806HGprL9K
— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) July 2, 2020
Update by ANI
Ministry of Law & Justice issues notification for Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules 2020 - for extending postal ballot facility for electors above the age of 65 years & #COVID19 patients under home/institutional quarantine: Election Commission of India (ECI) pic.twitter.com/XPKeORe8gO
— ANI (@ANI) July 2, 2020
The option of using postal ballots was so far granted only to the defence and security personnel, who are on out-of-state postings. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the postal ballot facility was also extended to super senior citizens - those aged above 80 - if they are not in a condition to visit the polling booths.
Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, while speaking to a national daily in the past month, said the Returning Officers will compile a list ahead of the polling date to identify the number of voters who are eligible for the postal ballot facility.
The polling officials would provide the postal ballots at doorstep, and also visit the house or quarantine facility of the voters to collect the same after the voting is over.
The voters who have opted to exercise their right to franchise using the postal ballots would be barred from entering the polling booths for this round of the elections, said Chandra.
Ahead of the official notification, Opposition parties after taking cognisance of media reports had condemned the EC's decision to extend the postal ballot facility for those aged above 65 without consulting all the political stakeholders. Deliberations should had been held with all electoral parties, said CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 02, 2020 04:58 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).