ECI approves scheme for voting by postal ballot by Darbar Move employees

JAMMU, NOV. 10 – In order to facilitate the Darbar Move employees to cast their votes in the elections, the Election Commission of India has approved a scheme for voting by postal ballot. A proposal in this regard was submitted to the Commission by the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K for approval.

Under the scheme, all those employees of State Government and J&K High Court, who have moved from Kashmir Province to Jammu or vice-versa in connection with their service, shall be able to cast their vote through postal ballot system.

As per the legal provisions, Section 16 (8) (e) of the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act, 1957 read with Section 70 (a) (i) of the  of the Act, lays down that a person holding any office under the Government and, verified to be moving along with the headquarters of the Government, from Kashmir Province to Jammu Province or vice-versa by such authority as the Governor may, in consultation with the Election Commission specify are entitled to cast their vote by “Postal Ballot”.  

The rule lays down that “the verifying authority specified in pursuance of the provisions of the Act shall furnish to the Returning Officer of the constituency at least 10 days before the date of the poll, a list of the electors verified by him under the said provisions and the said list shall contain the name of every such elector, the part number of the electoral roll in which the name has been included, and the serial number of the elector in such part and on receipt of the list, the Returning Officer shall check the list with the electoral roll and if the list is found correct, shall issue a postal ballot paper to every elector included in the list and shall insert the letter ‘PB’ against the name of such elector in the electoral roll”.

To operationalize the scheme, the Secretary, General Administration Department (GAD) has been specified as the verifying authority in respect of the employees whose move orders are issued by the GAD. Similarly in respect of the employees working under the administrative control of the High Court, the Registrar General of the High Court will be the verifying authority, says the communication of the Election Commission of India.

The employees desirous to cast their vote through postal ballot will have to give their preference in writing. The information in this regard will be obtained in a Non-Statutory form called Move Employees (ME) on a specified format. The copies of the format shall be distributed free of cost by the office of the Secretary, GAD at Jammu. The Non-Statutory Form (ME) will also be available from the office of the Registrar General of High Court at Jammu. To enable the move employees to give the requisite information in the Non-Statutory form (ME) by the stipulated date, the electoral rolls of the 74 assembly constituencies (except assembly constituencies falling in district Jammu and Samba) have been made available in the office of Secretary GAD, Civil Secretariat, Jammu from 3rd November, 2014 for inspection by the intending applicants. The electoral rolls 2014 in Urdu are also available on the website of the CEO viz,ceojammukashmir.nic.in alongwith the facility for free name search. The employees will be required to fill up part-I of the form ME in capital letters in black ink.

Under the scheme, it will be the responsibility of the concerned employee to submit the filled in form ME duly attested by the concerned HoD/Office of the Registrar General, High Court/Secretary GAD. The specified verifying authority will make arrangements and set up counters in adequate number with sufficient manpower to ensure the receipt of duly filled-in form (ME) in an orderly manner and maintain a proper record of the same. The forms shall be sorted Assembly Constituency-wise and kept in separate bundles.

The verifying authority shall prepare a list of the electors verified by him under the provisions of J&K Representation of People Act, 1957 and furnish the same to the Returning Officer of the concerned Assembly Constituency at least 10 days before the date of the poll. The list of electors shall contain the name of every such elector, the part number of the electoral roll in which the name has been included and the serial including the serial number of the elector in such part. The bundle of form (ME) pertaining to the particular Assembly Constituency shall also be sent along with the list. The list of the electors will be prepared on the devised format. The specified verifying officer will retain a list of electors submitted by him to the concerned Returning Officer for the purpose of reference and record.

On receipt of the list of electors along with the bundle of form (ME), in original, from the specified verifying authority, the Returning Officer shall check the list with the electoral roll and if the list is found correct, he shall issue a postal ballot paper to every elector included in the list against the address mentioned by the employee in the form (ME) and shall insert the letter “PB” against the name of such elector in the marked copy of the electoral roll.

The Election Commission of India has called for strict observance of these guidelines for the smooth management of postal ballot paper while preparing and dispatching the postal ballot paper.

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