[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Representation of the People Act, 1950 was enacted before the first general elections and laid down the allocation of seats in Parliament, delimitation of constituencies for elections, and requisite qualifications to be eligible to be a voter. The Representation of the People Act, 1951 lays down the conduct by which elections to both Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures are to be conducted, and their ancillary disputes or offences.
The current Bill seeks to amend both of the aforementioned Statutes. It proposes amendments in lieu of gender neutrality and to mitigate difficulties faced by foreign voters.
Section 20(6) of the 1950 Act provides the definition of “ordinary residents” of a constituency which include persons holding service qualifications — members of armed forces, members of armed police force of a state serving outside of it, or central government employees posted abroad. It also includes people holding offices within India, declared by the President in consultation with Election Commission.
The current Act classifies the wives of such people as “ordinary residents”. Section 60 of the 1951 Act also employs the aforementioned terminology. The Bill seeks to rectify the current laws by replacing “wife” with “spouse” to ensure gender neutrality,
The Bill seeks to rectify the current laws by replacing “wife” with “spouse” to ensure gender neutrality
as the occupations mentioned can be practiced by any person, irrespective of their gender.
Further, the amendment it seeks to add a clause that permits an overseas voter to cast their vote via proxy to Section 60 of the 1951 Act.
The amendment it seeks to add a clause that permits an overseas voter to cast their vote via proxy to Section 60 of the 1951 Act
The current law stipulates them to be present in person, a hardship which the amendment seeks to eliminate. The votes cast via proxy will remain subject to conditions laid down in the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.