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Chief Election Commissioner 3 June 2009 S
 

Chief Election Commissioner 3 June 2009 S

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50000 registered voters denied vote and 6 lakh eligible voters not registered

50000 registered voters denied vote and 6 lakh eligible voters not registered

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    Chief Election Commissioner 3 June 2009 S Chief Election Commissioner 3 June 2009 S Document Transcript

    • GURM Gurgaon Unified Residents Movement 543, Sector 23, Gurgaon – 122017 e-mail: from.gurm@gmail.com To, Mr. Navin B. Chawla Chief Election Commissioner Election Commission of India Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi-110001 Subject: Gurgaon residents denied voting rights; 50,000 existing names missing from final list; over 5 lakh eligible voters not registered Dear Sir, 1. We the Citizens of Gurgaon in Haryana under the banner of Gurgaon Unified Residents Movement (GURM) have recently placed a charter of demands before Chief Minister, Haryana (Copy enclosed at Annexure 2). Our main demands pertaining to elections were: • Complete 100% voter registration of voters. About 6-8 lakh urban Gurgaon voters must be registered through house to house survey by 15th August 2009. • For election infringements and other election related complaints, the authority to investigate should be the State Election Commission. • Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon shall be constituted at three levels, namely, Municipal Corporation, Ward Committees and Area Sabhas. • The Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon shall be its Chief Executive and should be elected directly for a period of 5 years. • Establish the District Council for rural & urban Gurgaon with representation from both rural and urban bodies Election Fiasco in Gurgaon 2. Chief Minister, Haryana was informed, “The provision of very meager number of staff to the District Election Officer in urban Gurgaon District has resulted in election fiasco in Gurgaon. Declared population of Gurgaon is 7.5 lakhs (3.8 lakh voters) whereas the actual population is nearer 20 lakhs, most of this in colonies, where no government infrastructure exists. Hence about 12 lakhs population (6-8 lakh voters) have not been able to register as voters, courtesy the absence of voter registration counters in the colonies, and unmanageable rush at the only two urban locations of counters (Mini Secretariat & Badshahpur) for voter registration in Gurgaon District. There was also a total lack of publicity of programme of voter registration in Gurgaon. There can be no meaningful election in Gurgaon before all these voters are provided a fair opportunity to get registered as voters. There has been ample media coverage of how intending voters were harassed and made to run around for registration as also gross mistakes in voter ID cards besides the deleting of over 50,000 voters from the voter rolls without any reason on 7th May 2009.” 1
    • 3. Chief Minister Haryana was therefore requested that the 6-8 lakh voters who have yet to be provided an equitable opportunity to be registered, may be now registered before 15th August 2009, by setting up 10 -12 urban location/ temporary counters for voter registration in colonies/ wards. Chief Minister Haryana was also requested that in case the RWAs attest the particulars the voter cards may be issued without further verification, with a provision for 5% random checking to ensure RWAs have properly attested the particulars. Chief Minister Haryana was requested to ensure that the mass scale errors of January-March 2009 in addresses, sex, names and photographs are avoided and there should be no repeat of 7th May 2009 when nearly 15% of urban Gurgaon voters (50,000 voters) were deprived of their right to vote. Chief Minister Haryana was also apprised that the 74th Constitution Amendment Act mandates that the first election should have been held within 6 months of dissolution of earlier Council on 2nd June 2008, by 2nd December 2008. (On 19th October 2006, the Supreme Court, in Kishansing Tomar vs. Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad & Ors 2007 AIR 269 held, quot;Clause (3) of Article 243-U states that election to constitute a Municipality shall be completed - (b) before the expiration of a period of six months from the date of its dissolution...Taking into account these factors and applying the principles of golden rule of interpretation, the object and purpose of Article 243-U is to be carried out.quot;) 4. The deleting of over 50,000 voters from the voter rolls without any reason on 7th May 2009 has denied the right to vote to over 50,000 voters. Restoration of their right to vote in Lok Sabha Elections may be taken up by your high office, as the true guardian of democracy in India, on highest priority. In our considered opinion the only manner in which the confidence of the Citizens of Gurgaon in our system of voting could be restored would be to completely overhaul the voting lists afresh in urban Gurgaon and thereafter go in for a re-poll for this parliamentary constituency. 74th Amendment Urban Functions 5. Para 2.2.2 Local Governance, 15th Report of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission, State and District Administration, April 2009, has made some pathbreaking recommendations for amendment/ implementation of the 74th Constitution Amendment Act. We therefore made the following suggestions pertaining to elections, to Chief Minister Haryana for implementation as soon as may be practicable, which will go a long way in making Gurgaon a vibrant, democratic, energetic and ultra-modern urban settlement: A. Establish the District Council for rural & urban Gurgaon with representation from both rural and urban bodies, as the true third tier of government in accordance with Articles 243G and 243W of the Constitution as soon as may be practicable. B. Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon shall be constituted at three levels, namely, Municipal Corporation, Ward Committees and Area Sabhas, with full powers for its own budget which shall not require any approvals at the District Council or the State level. C. The Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon shall be its Chief Executive and should be elected directly for a period of 5 years. D. For election infringements and other election related complaints, the authority to investigate should be the State Election Commission who should send its recommendation to the Governor. 2
    • Supreme Court Judgment on Autonomy of State Election Commissions 6. On 19th October 2006, the Supreme Court, in Kishansing Tomar vs. Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad & Ors 2007 AIR 269 held, quot;Clause (3) of Article 243-U states that election to constitute a Municipality shall be completed - (b) before the expiration of a period of six months from the date of its dissolution…. constitutional mandate is that ...in case of dissolution, the new body shall be constituted before the expiration of a period of six months.... the Election Commission shall complete the election before the expiration of the duration ... as stipulated in Clause (3) .... In terms of Article 243 K and Article 243 ZA (1) the same powers are vested in the State Election Commission as the Election Commission of India under Article 324. ....upon a request made in that behalf the Governor shall make available to the State Election Commission quot;such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the State Election Commission by clause (1).quot; ... the concerned government shall have to render full assistance and co-operation to the State Election Commission and respect the latter’s assessment of the needs ... for the independent and effective functioning of the State Election Commission, where it feels that it is not receiving the cooperation of the concerned State Government in discharging its constitutional obligation of holding the elections to the Panchayats or Municipalities within the time mandated in the Constitution, it will be open to the State Election Commission to approach the High Courts, in the first instance, and thereafter the Supreme Court for a writ .. directing the concerned State Government to provide all necessary cooperation and assistance to the State Election Commission to enable the latter to fulfill the constitutional mandate.quot; Conferences of State Election Commissioners 7. Certain decisions of pathbreaking importance to democratization of local bodies have been taken up with the Union Govt as also the State Govts by the Standing Committee of the State Election Commissioners. However as reported by various SECs and acknowledged by CEC, State Govts have been dragging their feet in implementation of Article 243K and Article 243ZA of the Constitution of India. 8. A Digest of Conferences of State Election Commissioners showing resolutions of greatest importance to democratization of local bodies, is at Annexure 1. The contents of Annexure 1 reveal glaring deficiencies in the implementation by State Govts of 74th Amendment democratization processes concerning local bodies. Some of the cogent recommendations are listed below. • Rectify the electoral rolls to ensure free and fair elections to Panchayat and local bodies, as desired by CEC at 9th Conference of State Election Commissioners. • Create greater awareness among the public on local bodies election issues and their current status (11th Conference of State Election Commissioners). • Seamless voter lists for all elections may these be of Panchayats, municipal bodies, state assemblies or the Lok Sabha as desired by Governor of Haryana at 10th Conference of State Election Commissioners. (8th & 11th Conference of State Election Commissioners). • Expedite passage of three model bills on common election law for the election to local bodies and conditions of service for State Election Commissioners (8th & 11th Conference of State Election Commissioners). 3
    • 1. Shri A.R. Kidwai Hon'ble Governor of Haryana Raj Bhawan, Chandigarh 160001 2. Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Haryana, Kothi No. 1, Sector 3, Chandigarh - 160003 3. Shri Chander Singh Hon'ble State Election Commissioner State Election Commission of Haryana S.C.O.NO.16-17, Sector- 20 D, Chandigarh 160020 4
    • Annexure 1 DIGEST OF CONFERENCES OF STATE ELECTION COMMISSIONERS 8th Conference of State Election Commissioners At the 8th Conference of the State Election Commissioners held at Bhubaneswar on 19th November, 2007, SEC Rajasthan, referred to the difficulties that they are facing in terms of lack of adequate administrative and financial autonomy. Such matters are entirely in the domain of the State Governments and he hoped that in view of the recent judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of 19th October, 2006 (2007 AIR 269), the State Governments would provide all the necessary support to the SECs to enable them to function as truly independent and autonomous institutions. CEC said that State Governments must grant necessary financial and administrative autonomy to the State Election Commissions. Referring to the decision for sharing the database of Assembly Constituencies for preparation of the electoral roll by the SECs which would include the ward numbers in the case of Municipal Bodies and the Panchayat name and ward number in the case of rural local bodies, he mentioned that over time there should be a common, seamless electoral roll. This would reduce costs and the likelihood of errors... Standing Committee of the State Election Commissioners had drafted three model bills on common election law for the election to Panchayati Raj Institutions, Municipal Bodies and condition of services for the State Election Commissioners. The conference noted that the Model Bill on election to Panchayati Raj Institutions after being vetted by the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice was sent ... to all the Chief Ministers on 17th May, 2007 to examine ... State Governments of Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Orissa had sought for the comments of the State Election Commissioners of the concerned States on the draft bills, all SECs had submitted the comments, only exception being SEC Haryana. As regards the model bill on election to the Municipal Bodies... Secretary, Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India... assured that once the Ministry of Urban Development would send the model bill prepared by the Standing Committee of the State Election Commissioners to the Ministry of Law and Justice, it would be examined quickly and sent back with necessary comments. On the proposal of loaning 20,000 EVMs in 2010 to SEC, Haryana which the ECI have already regretted, the Chief Election Commissioner assured that the ECI would consider providing EVMs to Haryana. The Chief Election Commissioner of India agreed to issue a letter of clarification to the State Election Commissioner, Haryana for loaning out E.V.M.S even if the election to the Urban Local Bodies in Haryana almost coincides with the Assembly Election in the State, so that the State Election Commission, Haryana would be able to procure 25% of the requirement of E.V.Ms. The need for providing the SECs with necessary administrative and financial autonomy by the State Governments, at par with that available to the ECI .. In view of the 19th October 2006 5
    • judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court this matter .... would also be pursued through the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the ECI. As regards the various financial restrictions being imposed by the State Governments from time to time, the State Govt. shall be apprised not to make such restrictions applicable to the State Election Commissions as the State Election Commission is functioning with bare minimum staff. It was also resolved that the economy circular in the matter of not filling up of the existing vacancies or abolition of vacant post as applied to other administrative Departments of the State Government from time to time should not apply to the State Election Commissions. 9th Conference of State Election Commissioners At the 9th Conference of State Election Commissioners held on July 3, 2008, at Bhopal, Chief Election Commissioner said that the important responsibility of implementing 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments lies with the State Election Commissions and Commissioners and therefore, the state governments must make all the powers and resources available to them in this connection. He exhorted state election commissioners to ensure Panchayat and local bodies' free and fair elections. The first and foremost requisite in this connection is rectification of electoral rolls. Enumerating common irregularities and mistakes in the electoral rolls, he said that the state governments, voters, political parties and media must play their important part in removing them. 10th Conference of State Election Commissioners At the 10th Conference of State Election Commissioners held on Dec 13, 2008 organised by Haryana State Election Commission at Chandigarh, Haryana Governor Dr A.R.Kidwai appreciated the suggestion of having seamless voter lists for all elections may these be of Panchayats, municipal bodies, state assemblies or the Lok Sabha and called upon the State Election Commissioners to further strengthen the election system in the country. While pointing out that it was high time to have seamless electoral rolls with progression from wards to Parliamentary constituencies, the CEC said that negotiations were on with the Census Commission that there should be a Census Block which should not be changed from Census to Census. The Chairman of Standing Committee of State Election Commissions, Nand Lal, who is also State Election Commissioner, Maharashtra, said in his key note address that 13th Finance Commission was being approached to give funds to purchase a large number of voting machines which would cost Rs. 15,000 crore. He also thanked Chief Election Commissioner for providing Electronic Voting Machines on loan to conduct elections. The State Election Commissioner of Haryana, Chander Singh said that the Haryana Government has been very cooperative to the demands of the SEC. Haryana was perhaps the first State in the country to introduce electoral photo identity cards to the voters. 11th Conference of State Election Commissioners The 11th Conference of State Election Commissioners held on May 23, 2009 at Thiruvananthapuram resolved to expedite the process for using a common electoral roll for the 6
    • elections to the Lok Sabha, State Assembly and local self-government institutions. The SECs felt that a common roll would be a solution to the difficulties being faced by the public. This would be implemented with the cooperation of the Central Government and the Central Election Commission. Kerala Governor R.S.Gavai said that lack of administrative and financial autonomy was a problem faced by the State Election Commissioners. Gavai said that the major factors related to the conduct of elections were creating greater awareness among the public and maintenance of law and order during elections. For the maintenance of law and order, the State Election Commissioners are entirely dependent on the State Governments. 7