Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Voting - a right or a duty?

"The voters have a freedom not to vote, to force them to vote is against the principles of an individual liberty."
That was said by the governor of Gujarat, Dr. Kamla Beniwal, when returning the compulsory voting bill after adding some suggestionsto the Gujarat assembly. The bill makes voting mandatory for citizens in the elections of local self-governing bodies of the state (that includes municipal corporations, district, taluka and village panchayats).

Is voting a right or a duty?

If it's a right, citizens have the freedom to choose whether they should exercise their right or not. Then they can't be forced to go to vote in elections. India is a democracy (at least on paper). We are free to make our decisions, without being told what to do by the government .

If it's a duty, this bill is a step in the right direction. We often neglect that duty but never pay for neglecting it. Well, not never. We do pay for it later, when it's easier to shift the blame on the third party - there was no candidate good enough for me to vote, and then we crib about the government that comes into power. This time round, there may be a punitive action if that duty is neglected.

Seeing India's attitude towards voting so far, my vote goes to duty. So, even though the freedom to choose is important, it's not so bad an idea to make people vote when they don't wish to. They will become more responsible towards the decisions they make. Maybe once the habit is inculcated and they realise its power and importance, the bill can be amended. In fact, voting should be made compulsory for national elections too. Because then you can question them "You're there because I voted for you, now what are you doing for me?"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comment here