Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration has clarified that there are multiple statutory safeguards existing in the present system against the inclusion of ineligible persons in the electoral roll.
Official sources said the last Special Summary Revision (SSR) in Jammu and Kashmir was held on 1st January 2019 as the qualifying date.
“Thus the youth of Jammu and Kashmir who have attained 18 years of age after 1st January 2019 are expected to be registered in the Electoral Roll during this SSR, along with other left out persons. Based on the population projections (RGI), the projected 18+ population in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir as on 1st July 2022 is expected to be 9896000, whereas the registered electors in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir as of date are only 7602397, thus there is a gap of 2293603. It is this gap which was used to convey tentative expectation from the SSR,” they said.
Official sources said before the abrogation of Article 370, the Assembly Electoral Rolls in Jammu and Kashmir were made under the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act 1957. Under the act, only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir were eligible to get registered in the assembly Rolls and possess consequential voting rights in assembly Elections.
“With the abrogation of Article 370 and applicability of Representation of People Act 1950 and 1951, any citizen of India who has attained the qualifying age and ‘ordinarily residing at a place is eligible to get registered in the electoral roll of that place, if not disqualified otherwise. It is in this context, that the media was briefed that any person who fulfills the requirements of registration and is ordinarily residing in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir (owing to any reasons such as profession, studies, posting, etc), can get registered in the Electoral Roll of Jammu and Kashmir, provided he gets his name deleted from Electoral Roll of his native constituency, as registration at two places is not permitted under law,” they said.
It is worthwhile to mention that before the abrogation of Article 370, these people were eligible to get registered in the Electoral Roll, if they were ordinarily residing in any of the Assembly Segments of Jammu and Kashmir, but had the right to vote only in Parliamentary Elections and were categorized as Non-Permanent Resident (NPR) voters. “During the last Parliamentary Elections there were approximately 32000 such NPR voters,” sources said.
Officials said the Procedure for getting registered in the Electoral Roll involves filing Form-6 by the eligible person, which contains complete details of the applicant including his family trail.
“There are specified documents prescribed by the Commission which are to be submitted as proof of residence as well as proof of age. On receipt of any such documents along with requisite documents, a Booth Level Officer, BLO (who happens to be a local officer of the polling area), is appointed by the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), who conducts a detailed physical verification of the particulars mentioned in Form 6, and submits his report. It is based on the documents as well as the report of the BLO, the concerned ERO, if satisfied, grants registration to an applicant. Further, as a counter-check, there is also a provision in law to object to the inclusion of any name in the electoral roll through Form-7, by any elector of the concerned constituency. Thus there are multiple statutory safeguards existing in the present system against the inclusion of an ineligible person in the Electoral Roll,” they said.
Official sources said there is no change in the provisions for the Kashmiri Migrants. All provisions for their registration which the media was briefed about are there from last so many elections. “They have the special provision of getting registered in the electoral rolls of their native (before their migration) assembly segments, though residing outside. For their facilitation, three AEROs (Migrants) are designated, at Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi. Special SSR camps are being organized at places where these migrants are putting up,” they said.
Officials said regarding the members belonging to Army, BSF, CRPF, etc, there already exists a provision for them to get registered as Service Voters for their native Assembly Constituency and avail the facility of Electronically Transferred Postal Ballot System (ETPBS). “However, for the Armed Forces personnel who are posted at Peace Stations there is an additional option available to get registered as a General Elector at the peace station,” they said.