NEW DELHI: Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Wednesday said the idea of compulsory voting has not been found practical.
“The voter is the central point of the electoral framework and every voter must be thoroughly aware and educated about the electoral processes and procedures, so as to ensure his or her informed and ethical participation,” he said while inaugurating a global conference on voter education titled Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation, being organised by the Election Commission and the United Nations Development Programme from October 19 to October 21 in the capital.
In February, while responding to a private member’s bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on compulsory voting, then Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said though he appreciated the intention of the members, it would not be possible for the government to introduce compulsory voting and penalise those who failed to exercise their franchise.
The Law Commission, in its report on electoral reforms submitted in March last year, also decided against recommending compulsory voting by terming it as “highly undesirable” for a variety of reasons such as being undemocratic, illegitimate, expensive, unable to improve quality political participation and awareness, and difficult to implement.
Later, responding to a question on the holding of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Zaidi said the apex poll watchdog had told a Parliamentary committee and the Ministry of Law and Justice that such an exercise could be undertaken if political parties were unanimous about amending the Constitution and the government accepted the poll panel’s demands.