1. P1: Voting rights of Defence Personnel
  2. P2: President didn’t cast his vote
  3. P3: Who pays for Lok Sabha election?

P1: Voting rights of Defence Personnel

Q. Discuss in brief, the provisions relating Voting rights of Defence personnel, and recent SC verdict on it. (200 words)
A defence personnel can vote in his native home Constituency via two methods:

  • POSTAL BALLOT – self-explanatory. But process increases the cost of election. (RPA Act 1951)
  • PROXY VOTING i.e. fillup a form (13F) to nominate another person to vote on his behalf at home. But process is cumbersome and violates the principle of “secrecy” in voting. (Election Act 2003)

Later, EC permitted defence personnel to cast vote in their area of posting, IF he is serving there for at least three years and living with his family.

In many constituencies of J&K and North-East, the defence personnel outnumbere the local population. So if they were allowed to cast votes in the area of posting, it’ll potentially change the electoral outcome. Therefore EC made “three years” safeguard, this was upheld in Punjab-Haryana HC (2013)
Recently SC-verdict amended above EC rule:

  1. Defence personnel have “right to vote” and Election Commission cannot impede it
  2. IF they were posted at a peace station since 1 January, 2014, they can cast their vote in their constituency of posting. Same applies to family members living with them. EC cannot force them to in native home Constituency via postal or proxy voting.
  3. SC ordered government to send list of such peace station to EC.
  4. SC ordered EC to prohibit political parties from campaigning at such peace stations.

~230 words.
Related topic: Service Voters
Election commission permits Service voters to cast vote via post / proxy. The examples of Service votes are:

  • Personnel employed under Government of India but posted outside (embassy staff, diplomats)
  • Defence / police forces of union
  • Armed police force of state, serving outside the state.

P2: President didn’t cast his vote

Why some Presidents vote & some dont?
Presidents Did they vote in Lok Sabha election?
Before KR Narayan Presidents did not vote in Lok Sabha elections.
KR Narayan (1998) first president to cast his vote, waited in the queue like an ordinary citizen.
Dr. APJ Kalam Yes, from special polling center setup within Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Earlier he was planning to vote via postal ballot for his Constituency South Kolkata. (if he had done so, he’d be the first President to use postal ballot)
  • But ultimately, decided not to vote, to keep neutrality.

P3: Who pays for Lok Sabha election?

Activity Cost Bourne by
Lok Sabha Election Union government
Law & Order maintenance during election State governments

How much did Union pay?

Exact figures not important
Election cost in Crores
1952 10.45
2004 1114
2009 1483
2014 3426

There is steep increase in the Expenditure, why?

  1. Inflation: reflects in fuel, electricity, stationary items.
  2. More political parties, more Independent candidates contesting polls. Their record keeping also costs money.
  3. Voter awareness campaigns
  4. More voters= More voter slips have to be distributed- count the stationary, staff cost.
  5. EC had introduced Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

Another study claim Candidates themselves have spent more than 40,000 crore rupees in election campaign (including desi liquor).

Mock questions

Q1. Which of the following is/are incorrect?

  1. Since Independence, Indian Presidents have a long tradition of voting through a special polling booth within Rashtrapati bhawan.
  2. President Pranab Mukharjee is the first President of India who did not vote cast vote in Lok Sabha election.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q2. Who pays for the cost of EVMs Lok Sabha election?

  1. Union
  2. Union and States bear 50:50 sharing
  3. Each state depending on number of polling booths
  4. Money from a special election fund, where each state has to contribute depending on number of Lok Sabha seats in their territory.

Q3. Who pays for the cost of law and order maintenance during Lok Sabha election in a Constituency?

  1. Union
  2. Given state government
  3. Money from a special election fund, where each state has to contribute depending on number of Lok Sabha seats in their territory.
  4. Both Union and States bear the cost in 50:50, except J&K and hill states where it is 90:10

Correct Answers

  1. C Both A and B are incorrect. “long tradition” implies that from 50s till now every President has voted through special booth. Hence incorrect.
  2. A Union pays
  3. B state pays