J&K Govt Clears Air On Voter Enrolment, Says New Voters Mostly J&K Youth

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Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday cleared air over the estimated 25 lakh new voters being enrolled in the Union Territory, saying that a large number of new voters will be the youth of J&K, who have attained the age of 18 years after January 2019, besides other left out persons.

According to government officials, who spoke to Kashmir Observer, it is projected that 18 plus population in J&K as on July,1, 2022 is expected to be 9896000, whereas the registered electors in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir as on date are only 7602397, thus there is a gap of 2293603.

“It is this gap which was used to convey tentative expectation from the special summary revision,” he said, adding that the last SSR in Jammu and Kashmir was held with reference to January 1, 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,” officials said.

They further said that prior to the abrogation of Article 370, the assembly electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir were made under the ambit of Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act 1957, wherein 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,” they said.

It is in this context, the officials said, the media was briefed that any person who fulfils 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 Rolls 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.

“It is worthwhile to mention here that, even prior to abrogation of Article 370, these people were eligible to get registered in the Electoral Rolls, if they were ordinarily residing in any of 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,” they said.

Giving reference of the last Parliamentary Elections held in J&K, the officials said that there were approximately 32000 such NPR voters.

“The Procedure for getting registered in the Electoral Roll involves filing of 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,” they said.

On receipt of any such documents along with requisite documents, he said, 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 the Form 6, and submits his report.

The officials further said that it is s 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 inclusion of an in-eligible person in the Electoral Roll,” officials emphasised.

About the Kashmiri migrants, the officials said that there is no change in the provisions for their registration which the media was briefed about from last so many elections.

“They have the special provision of getting registered in the electoral rolls of their native (prior to their migration) assembly segments, though residing outside. For their facilitation, three AERO (Migrants) are designated, at Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. Every SSR special camps are organized at the camps where these migrants are putting up,” they added.

Regarding the members belonging to Armed Forces, including Army, BSF, CRPF, the officials said, it was told that 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,” officials added.

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