Private Bill on compulsory voting divides House

  1. A Member of Parliament(MP) has introduced a private member bill in the Lok Sabha called Compulsory Voting Bill,2019.
  2. Compulsory voting can be defined as a legal obligation to attend the polls at election time and perform whatever duties are required there of electors.Voters are legally bound to vote in elections.If an eligible voter does not attend a polling place,he may be subject to punitive measures such as fines.
  3. The constitution has adopted the system of universal adult suffrage to secure political justice.In India,the right to vote is provided by the Constitution and the RPA,1951 subject to certain disqualifications.
  4. Article 326 of the Constitution guarantees the right to vote to every citizen above the age of 18.
  5. Section 62 of the RPA,1951 states that every person who is in the electoral roll of that constituency will be entitled to vote.This is a non discriminatory,voluntary system of voting.
  6. In March 2015,the Law Commission in its report on electoral reforms had also opposed the idea of compulsory voting saying it was not practical to implement it.
  7. Further,11 countries around the world make it mandatory for citizens to vote.Australia mandates compulsory voting at the national level.The penalty for violation includes an explanation for not voting and a fine. 
  8. Several countries in South America including Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia also have a provision for compulsory voting.If one does not vote, access to state benefit and social security is restricted.
  9. Other democracies like the UK, USA, Germany, Italy and France have a system of voluntary voting.Usually,they have a high voter turnout.