CEO’s estimate about new voters based on gap between population eligible for enrolment and registered voters: Officials
“The projected 18+ population in UT as on 1st July 2022 is expected to be 9896000, whereas the registered electors are only 7602397. There is a gap of 2293603 who have attained the requisite age or are the left-outs”
Srinagar: Amid ongoing controversy over J&K chief electoral officer’s statement that 20-25 lakh new voters could be added during special summary revision of voters, the authorities on Thursday clarified that the estimate was based on the gap between population eligible for enrolment as voters and the existing registered voters in the Union Territory.
Commenting on the expected number of additions in Electoral Roll, the official sources said that based on the population projections (RGI), the projected 18+ population in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir as on 1st July 2022 is expected to be 9896000, whereas the registered electors in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir as on date are only 7602397.
There is a gap of 2293603 and that is what was conveyed as tentative expectation from the SSR, said the sources, adding the last SSR was held with reference to 1st January 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.
The sources said that there are multiple statutory safeguards existing in the present system against inclusion of an in-eligible person in the Electoral Roll in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Prior to the abrogation of Article 370, the Assembly Electoral Rolls in J&K 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. 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,” said the sources.
They said that any person who fulfills the requirements of registration and is ordinarily residing in the UT (owing to any reasons such as profession, studies, posting, etc), can get registered here provided he gets his name deleted from Electoral Roll of his native constituency, as registration at two places is not permitted under law.
“Even prior to abrogation of Article 370, these people were eligible to get registered in the Electoral Rolls, if they were ordinarily residing in J&K but had the right to vote only in Parliamentary Elections. During the last Parliamentary Elections there were approximately 32000 such NPR voters,” said the sources.
The sources however maintained that the process is not ‘free-for-all’, as is being projected by some, but has multiple statutory safeguards.
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, a Booth Level Officer, BLO (who happens to be a local officer of the polling area), is appointed by the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), conducts a detailed physical verification of the particulars and submits his report. It is based on the documents as well as the report of the BLO, the concerned ERO, if satisfied, grants registration to an applicant and as 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,” said the sources.
About the provisions regarding registration of Kashmiri migrants, the sources said that there is no change in the provisions for them.
“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,” said the sources.
Regarding the members belonging to Armed Forces, the sources said 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,” the sources further said.