Petitioning V. S. Sampath
Make Sure Our Armed Forces Personnel Are Able to Vote
- The soldier who defends the Indian nation, and by extension, our democracy, by putting his life on the line, deserves the right to vote. However nearly 14 lakh Armed Forces personnel, 9 lakh Paramilitary forces personnel and a large number of their families being excluded from India’s most significant democratic process – a right that each one of them enjoys under the Constitution.
- Posted far away from home in inhospitable and difficult terrain, these brave men and women get to vote only after retirement.
- In fact, large number of retired Officers and other ranks, including some who were Mahavir Chakra (MVC) awardees – India’s second highest military decoration awarded for valour, self sacrifice in face of enemy – had not voted in some cases for 30 years during their serving life.
- Though the EC provides soldiers with the options of postal ballot system and proxy voting method, these have not been able to yield results due to certain deficiencies.
- As the world’s largest and vibrant democracy, we should not tolerate this situation for a day more. Lastly, this is one of the easiest problems to fix by simply putting in place a process and seeking assistance of the Armed Forces infrastructure which will ensure an orderly and timely voting by vast majority, if not all, of its personnel during the 2014 general elections.
- The Election Commission must take necessary steps to ensure that armed forces personnel are accorded their right to vote in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.