VOTING RIGHTS OF ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL
STATEMENT IN RESPECT OF PARTS (a) TO (c) OF RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1337 FOR 10.3.2015 REGARDING VOTING RIGHTS OF ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL.
(a) to (c): Issues relating to further facilitation of voting by defence service personnel had been taken up with Election Commission of India. Meanwhile, the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an interim order on 24.3.2014 in Writ Petition (C) No.1005 of 2013 (Neela Gokhale versus Union of India & Another) with Special Leave Petition (C) No.6554/2014 (Rajeev Chandrasekhar versus Union of India & Others), inter alia, giving directions regarding registration of Service personnel posted in peace stations as general voters; not insisting on Election Commission of India’s order dated 28.12.2008 wherein certain conditions for registration of Service personnel as general voters have been prescribed; furnishing of details of peace stations to Election Commission of India and providing assistance to Election Commission of India for making Postal Ballot effective.
In compliance of the ibid interim order of Hon’ble Supreme Court, list of peace stations was furnished by the Ministry of Defence to Election Commission of India for registration of Service personnel working in those locations as general voters. Election Commission of India, in compliance of aforesaid interim orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, issued instructions on 26.3.2014 to all Chief Electoral Officers of all States with reference to Service personnel who have been posted at peace stations on 1.1.2014 and continue to be posted there on the date of the commencement of the election process in the concerned Assembly Constituency. Even after completion of General Election to Lok Sabha 2014, the Commission have extended these instructions for further period till any further order is given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Internal instructions were issued by the Ministry of Defence to the Services Headquarters for taking all necessary steps and provide necessary assistance to Election Commission in making Postal Ballot for Service personnel effective.