Government of India
Ministry of Defence
Department of Defence
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1337
ANSWERED ON MARCH 10, 2015
Voting Rights of Armed Forces Personnel
1337. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR:
Will the Minister of DEFENCE be pleased to refer to the answer to Unstarred Question1585 given in the Rajya Sabha on 5thFebruary, 2014 and state:
(a) whether a response has been received from the Election Commission of India on theissue of voting rights of Armed Forces personnel;
(b) if so, the details thereof; and
(c) the timeline by which the Ministry intends to ensure that Armed Forces personnelare able to cast their vote while on duty, either at place of service or through a reliablesystem of postal ballots?
MINISTER OF DEFENCE
(SHRI MANOHAR PARRIKAR)
(a) to (c): A statement is attached.
STATEMENT IN RESPECT OF PARTS (a) TO (c) OF RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1337 FOR 10.3.2015 REGARDING VOTINGRIGHTS OF ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL
(a) to (c): Issues relating to further facilitation of voting by defence service personnelhad been taken up with Election Commission of India. Meanwhile, the Hon’bleSupreme Court passed an interim order on 24.3.2014 in Writ Petition (C) No.1005 of2013 (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 stationsas general voters; not insisting on Election Commission of India’s order dated28.12.2008 wherein certain conditions for registration of Service personnel as generalvoters have been prescribed; furnishing of details of peace stations to ElectionCommission of India and providing assistance to Election Commission of India formaking Postal Ballot effective.
In compliance of the ibid interim order ofHon’ble Supreme Court, list of peacestations was furnished by the Ministry of Defence to Election Commission of India forregistration 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 ElectoralOfficers 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 thecommencement of the election process in the concerned Assembly Constituency.Even after completion of General Election to Lok Sabha 2014, the Commission haveextended 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 Defenceto the Services Headquarters for taking all necessary steps and provide necessaryassistance to Election Commission in making Postal Ballot for Service personneleffective.