NEW DELHI: Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee reviewing proxy voting and postal ballot facilities for armed forces personnel on Wednesday pressed for a mechanism to ensure that the soldiers posted in far-flung areas were able to exercise their franchise on time.
At the meeting of the Parliamentary Panel on Defence here, several members said there is a need to develop a foolproof infrastructure to ensure that soldiers and those coming under the Army Act are able to cast vote using postal ballot on time, sources said. Representatives of the EC were also present at the meeting.
There have been complaints that often soldiers and paramilitary personnel do not receive postal ballots on time and as a result they are unable to cast their vote on time. Besides postal ballot, personnel of armed forces are allowed to use proxy voting facility to cast their vote at constituencies of which they are residents. Under the postal ballot system, ballot papers are distributed or returned by post to the electors, in contrast to the electors voting in person at a polling station.
Proxy voting allows the armed forces’ personnel to authorise their kin to vote in favour of a particular candidate. The Committee recorded the views of the representatives of the Ministry of Defence on proxy and postal voting by defence personnel in elections.
The Centre is exploring the possibility of allowing voting by electronic means to armed forces and paramilitary personnel. The Election Commission has already handed over to the Law Ministry, a draft framework to allow overseas Indians to cast their votes by electronic means .
But since issues of security and hacking proof computer and Internet systems are involved, various government departments are still mulling ways on allowing similar facility to personnel of armed forces and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).