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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If this is true, then our friend ‘Indian Ace’ is going to be really happy

Times of India and a couple of other papers have reported that the forces are encouraging personnel to exercise the right to vote this time. Surely a welcome change. If this indeed is true then our friend and fellow blogger, ‘Indian Ace’, is going to be thrilled for he has been harping on the same since long.

Though I feel the issue has been needlessly sensationalised in print, here is an excerpt from The Times of India :

For the first time, the armed forces have asked their personnel to exercise their fundamental right to vote in the areas of their posting during the general elections slated for march-april.

In an unprecedented move all the personnel of the army, the navy and the air force have been asked to get themselves registered with the Election Commission office in their area of posting and exercise their right to vote.

"All of us have been asked to get ourselves registered wherever we are posted and exercise our franchise. Voter registration forms and other certificates required are being circulated among all units and departments," a senior naval official told IANS requesting anonymity.

A majority of Indian defence personnel have never voted during their service tenure for want of an effective mechanism. However, there is a provision for the armed forces personnel to vote in their areas of posting only during the general elections, provided they are registered with the Election Commission.

India's armed forces comprise a 1.1-million strong army, around 140,000-strong air force and nearly 60,000-strong navy and they can be a sizeable vote bank especially in cantonment areas.

"The main reason behind this proactive participation of the armed forces in the electoral process seems to be the armed forces being shortchanged in the Pay Commission and their lack of a say in the decision making process," said a high-ranking army official, wishing not to be identified. Though there is a postal ballot and proxy voting system, most personnel are not aware of it.

Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major confessed to IANS in a candid interview: "Though there is the proxy voting system and the postal ballot system, things have not materialised as desired." The IAF chief has himself not been able to vote for the last 10 years because, like most people in the armed forces, he has not been home during election time. "The last I voted was 10 years ago when I was home on vacation. I have voted only four times (in his 41 years of service)," Major told IANS. The IAF chief's statement underscores how successive governments have failed to give effective voting rights to the armed forces. The postal ballot system has proved inadequate due to the long delays involved in sending out voting sheets.

In September 2003, parliament had approved the proxy voting system for armed forces personnel whereby they could authorise a family member - usually a parent or a sibling or a spouse - to cast their vote by proxy. This system draws heavily from that prevailing in Britain but has proved to be ineffective because soldiers do not even know the provision exists.

The defence ministry has time and again stressed that it is looking into the matter but has not taken any steps to rectify the problems.

So it’s ballot power this time I suppose. One must also visit www.jaagore.com for more insight into things electoral.


Parvez Jamasji said...

Proves that Present Chiefs are smarter than their predesesors, I Happy to say, thongs can only improve hense forth.

Parvez Jamasji. VrC.

E : parvez1942@yahoo.com
: parvezjamasji@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

well I have conducted voting in J&K but never voted in life . and now when the civil autorities ask for voter I Card .. I say PROUDLY
we are not citizen of India as WE are not issued Voter I card . we are slaves who are only supposed to Serve the nation and expect nothing from the country.
well if the services vote then it would be a revolution for the betterment of the defence services.
will CO/bde sahib tell its troops to GO OUT and vote. or it will say do this...this....this.....

prasad said...

the provision exists for service personnel and family members residing with them to register at their place of posting. navy has done in a centralised manner and ensured maximum registration. however, with my interaction with other services it seems that IAF and army have not even brought this provision to notice of concerned authorities leave alone go in for centralised registration. i am sure if IAF and army do the way navy went abt, in these days of coalitions where each seat matters, the political class will sit up and take notice as the service personnel(both serving and Ex together) as a vote bank can make a difference in at least 40 - 50 Loksabha constituencies

The only drawback is you need to reregister on posting by surrendering the EC ID card at new place, a small inconvenience considering the benifits.

IndianACE said...

"Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come".

Well, almost nothing can. It is heartening that we realise that voting is a democratic affirmative action which we must exercise for sake of strengthening our country.

Service men and women should think about casting their vote strategically and not whittle away the power.

Thank you, Navdeep, for the sustained education.

Vitalstatistix said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Could you also put on your site the wonderful work being done by TATA Tea on the site www.jagore.com. My wife and I have not been able to vote and I have spent over 20 years in the military. the site dispels some common myths about voting. Among them, I found that one can vote from the place of his or her posting, provided the person has been living there for at least 6 months. So most of us definitely CAN vote.
The site just asks you some simple questions and generates a pdf form which can be readily printed and submitted to the electoral officer. The site also gives the address of the officer who will accept the form. All it takes is an internet connection and a printer.
I would definitely recommend that each one of us logs in and votes, for only then can we be heard, and make a difference.
Jai Hind

Anonymous said...

Dear Parvez,
"thongs" can improve.. i agree. been lounging on beaches abroad i guess.

RK said...

@ Parvez

There is hardly anything in a "THONG" to improve upon.

Anonymous said...

My Dear Navdeep and other friends,

Being a Service Officer or PBOR, one must know that the the highest fundamantal right, that is, right to Vote (or Choose) has not been abrogated for soldiers and officers.

Inter alia, it means that inspite of abrogation of the right to form an association, Union or a Political Party, expression of a Political Opinion, the right to exercise a political decision in the form of exercising "Voting" does exist with every memebr of the Armed Forces.

One must know it is a very big fundamantal right. Scores of the Democratic or semi democratic Countries in the world have taken this right away from the members of the Armed Forces and the Police.

However, the best system to emulate in this regard is USA. In the last Presidential election, all Political Parties had launched massive Internet Campaigns to woo the Voters from Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly the Soldiers. I had shown those news reports to Mr Shekhar Gupta, who thought and propogated himself to be a sympathizer, but otherwise landed with an award on Th Jan buttressing AIS interests.

That apart, it is a "Sacred Duty" and "Constitutional Obligation" of each Commanding Officer and OICs to ensure that all memabers of their units or sub-units discahrge their constitutional obligations of exercising their right to Vote. Every CO or OIC must realise that it is a sacred and Constitutional duty enshrined on them by the Constitution of India, which above All Parties, All Services including the defamed IAS, and all Politics. IT must be exercised in whatevr form possible.

Now Coming on to The Proceedures:

Post Office or Ballot Voting Just useless system as ballot votes as just not counted unless ballot votes are more than the number of difference of the loosing or winning difference.

Proxy Voting. One is not sure who will vote for whom under what influence. The the real choice of voter, that is, the soldier, may never be exercised. It hardly works as the Proxy assumes the right of exercise.

Vote Where You Are The bust option. Armed Forces Personnel can cahnage the Complexion of all constituencies of the border ares and where ever they are in large numbers. Congress has been ruling this country for last 60 yeras based on such fringe constituencies. It has following benefits:

* All Parties will pay attention to such areas, inter alia, the Armed Forces.

* It might radically change the results of border areas constituancies, and therby the the fargile counting factor of some major political parties.

* It will also influences the outcome of some key constituencies of the Metros and meduim / small towns where Forces are located.

It is a Gain and Gain situation for the Armed Forces.

The Final thing: Vote where you work... Vote ..Vote and Vote..

Do not miss it before the manipulators realise what has struck them... and struck them hard...

Jai Hind..

Ignore spellings as spell check Not working...

Yogander Singh said...

i accept that voting is a sacred duty in a democracy. But the question for us is - what is the most appropriate way to do so. Is it to vote at place of posting ( a temporary residence for nearly all of us) or to vote at native place (some of us may not go back there on retirement). Voting at place of posting means getting involved in electoral process ( interacting with candidates to select the best) and so on. How do we reconcile our military routine with this elecetion routie? How do we insulate chain of command from electoral pulls and pressures? These issues need to be debated (not through chian of command) but in open foras such as this blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear bloggers,
Though our country has had a history of a-political Army(services), but I think its time for a change. We in uniform must exercise our right to vote keeping our natinal interests first and then should come our own interests.
Please also read an article by Sh RSN Singh "Is this how we treat our military? " on Indian Defence Review, also available on 'sify'.

Gunner said...

Please also read an article by Sh RSN Singh "Is this how we treat our military? " on Indian Defence Review, also available on 'sify'.

Tuggy said...

Very good step. Now we can have some more sincere votes and help the right candidate win.So far it has been mostly money power which could decide the fate of a country.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Being an apolitical miliotary does not mean that the military does not vote!

It is the DUTY of every soldier, sailor, and airman to participate in the democratic process, as a citizen of a democracy.

And it is the duty of all of us, to ensure that the voting happens in such a way that it causes the government to wake up, and realise that the soldier is also voting for change!

Anonymous said...

( For the Information of All)

Electoral roll for every constituency.

15.Electoral roll for every constituency. For every constituency
there shall be an electoral roll which shall be prepared in accordance
with the provisions of this Act under the superintendence, direction
and control of the Election Commission.

Disqualifications for registration in an electoral roll.

16.(1)Disqualifications for registration in an electioral roll. A
person shall be disqualified for registration in an electoral roll if
(a) is not a citizen of India ; or
(b) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent
court ; or

c)is for the time being disqualified from voting under the
provisions of any law relating to corrupt 1* * * practices
and other offences in connection with elections.
(2) The name of any person who becomes so disqualified after
registration shall forthwith be struck off the electoral roll in which
it is included:
2[Provided that the name of any person struck off the electoral
roll of a constituency by reason of a disqualification under clause
(c) of sub-section (1) shall forthwith be re-instated in that roll if
such disqualification is, during the period such roll is in force,
removed under any law authorizing such removal.]

No person to be registered in more than one constituency.

17.No person to be registered in more than one constituency. No
person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for
more than one constituency3* * *.

No Person to be registered more than once in any constituency.

18.No Person to be registered more than once in any constituency.
No person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for
any constituency more than once.

Conditions of registration.

4 [19.Conditions of registration. Subject to the foregoing
provisions of this Part, every person who-
(a) is not less than 5[eighteen years] of age on the
qualifying date, and
(b) is ordinarily resident in a constituency,
shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for that

Meaning of "ordinarily resident."


(1)Meaning of "ordinarily resident." A person shall not be
deemed to be ordinarily resident in a constituency on the ground only
that he owns, or is in possession of, a dwelling house therein.

(1A) A person absenting himself temporarily from his place of
ordinary residence shall not by reason thereof cease to be ordinarily
resident therein.

(1B) A member of Parliament or of the Legislature of a State
shall not during the term of his office cease to be ordinarily
resident in the constituency in the electoral roll of which he is
registered as an elector at the time of his election as such member, by reason of his absence from that constituency in connection with his duties as such member.]

(2) A person who is a patient in any establishment maintained
wholly or mainly for the reception and treatment of persons suffering
from mental illness or mental defectiveness, or who is detained in
prison or other legal custody at any place, shall not by reason
thereof be deemed to be ordinarily resident therein.

(3) Any person having a service qualification shall be deemed
to be ordinarily resident on any date in the constituency in which,
but for his having such service qualification, he would have been
ordinarily resident on that date.]

(4)Any person holding any office in India declared by the
President in consultation with the Election Commission to be an office
to which the provisions of this sub-section apply, 2* * * shall be
deemed to be ordinarily resident 3*** on any date in the constituency
in which, but for the holding of any such office 4* * *, he would
have been ordinarily resident 5* * * on that date6.

(5) The statement of any such person as is referred to in subsection
(3) or sub-section (4) made in the prescribed form and
verified in the prescribed manner, that 1[but for his having the
service qualification] or but for his holding any such office 2* * *
as is referred to in sub-section (4) he would have been ordinarily
resident in a specified place 3* * * on any date, shall, in the
absence of evidence to the contrary, be 1[accepted.as correct].

(6) The wife of any such person as is referred to in sub-section
(3) or sub-section (4) shall, if she be ordinarily residing with such
person 4* * * be deemed to be ordinarily resident 5** * in the
constituency specified by such person under sub-section (5).

6[(7) If in any case a question arises as to where a person is
ordinarily resident at any relevant time, the question shall be
determined with reference to all the facts of the case and to such
rules as may be made in this behalf by the Central Government in
consultation with the Election Commission.

(8) In sub-sections (3) and (5) " service qualification "
(a) being a member of the armed forces of the Union ; or
(b) being a member of a force to which the provisions of
the Army Act, 1950, ( 46 of 1950). have been made applicable
whether with or without modifications; or
(c) being a member of an armed police force of a State, who
is serving outside that State ; or
(d) being a person who is employed under the Government of
India, in a post outside India.]

Preparation and revision of electoral rolls.

7[21.(1)Preparation and revision of electoral rolls. The
electoral roll for each constituency shall be prepared in the
prescribed manner by reference to the qualifying date and shall come
into force immediately upon its final publication in accordance with
the rules made under this Act.

1[(2) The said electoral roll-

(a) shall, unless otherwise directed by the Election
Commission for reasons to be recorded in writing, be
revised in the prescribed manner by reference to the
qualifying date-

(i) before each general election to the House of the
People or to the Legislative Assembly of a State ; and
(ii) before each bye-election to fill a casual vacancy
in a seat allotted to the constituency ; and

(b) shall be revised in any year in the prescribed
manner by reference to the qualifying date if such
revision has been directed by the Election Commission:

Correction of entries in electoral rolls.

2[22.Correction of entries in electoral rolls. If the electoral
registration officer for a constituency, on application made to him or
on his own motion, is satisfied after such inquiry as he thinks fit,
that any entry in the electoral roll of the constituency-
(a) is erroneous or defective in any particular,
(b) should be transposed to another place in the roll
on the ground that the person concerned has changed his
place of ordinary residence within the constituency, or
(c) should be deleted on the ground that the person
concerned is dead or has ceased to be ordinarily
resident in the constituency or is otherwise not
entitled to be registered in that the electoral registration officer shall, subject to such general or special directions, if any, as may be given by the Election Commission
in this behalf, amend, transpose or delete the entry:

Provided that before taking any action on any ground under clause
(a) or clause (b) or any action under clause (c) on the ground that
the person concerned has ceased to be ordinarily resident in the
constituency or that he is otherwise not entitled to be registered in
the electoral roll of that constituency, the electoral registration
officer shall give the person concerned a reasonable opportunity of
being heard in respect of the action proposed to be taken in relation
to him.]


Inclusion of names in electoral rolls.

1[23.(1)Inclusion of names in electoral rolls. Any person whose
name is not included in the electoral roll of a constituency may apply
to the electoral registration officer for the inclusion of his name in
that roll.

(2) The electoral registration officer shall, if satisfied that
the applicant is entitled to be registered in the electoral roll,
direct his name to be included therein:
Provided that if the applicant is registered in the electoral
roll of any other constituency, the electoral registration officer
shall inform. the electoral registration officer of that other
constituency and that officer shall, on receipt of the information,
strike off the applicant's name from that roll.

(3) No amendment, transposition or deletion of any entry shall
be made under section 22 and no direction for the Inclusion of a name
in the electoral roll of a constituency shall be given under this
section, after the last date for making nominations for an election in
that constituency or in the parliamentary constituency within which
that constituency is comprised and before the completion of that

Anonymous said...

Considering the ratio of number of PBOR and officers in the armed forces,if is hoped that the pressure group so formed shall be more sensitive towards intrests of PBOR, with little more internal "Democracy" within

Rajababu said...

by the way since i dont find a convergence of ideas and thoughts for the benefit of services other than a few on the blog, i dont know how we are going fight unitedly in times of conflict/war

Jagoore jago ek ho jao

IndianACE said...

Good, now one can feel the momentum building up. Just say 'yes, we can' and keep your documents handy.

Don't bother about the candidates at this moment. All things will fall in place, if you are united as one.

Motivate the subordinates. Don't wait for a general saab to give directions.

Remember, the izzat of soldiers is paramount, next only to the ideals of geographical unity of India and the democratic system enshrined in our constitution.

So vote and show them that only the best will do for this country.

Thank you my anonymous friends and the naval chief!

Harry said...

@ Navdeep Sir,

Sorry for being off topic but could not resist posting it here. Pls see the link http://gconnect.in/gc/6cpc-matters/grade-pay-of-5400-to-acp-inspectors-model-order.html

Inspectors getting 5400 as Grade Pay. How can our Lts be placed at 5400?
Best recourse for us is, get trg pd counted as service and that be taken as 2Lt rk (atleast notionally, on paper). This is highly possible as this used to be the status for Tech entry officers for whom trg period was (and still is) counted as service and they used to pass out as Lts and other regular officers as 2 Lts. And even now how can they give 5400 Grade Pay to GCs and officers(Lts) alike? This is plain silly :(

Anonymous said...

Proof of travel not required for claiming LTA: Supreme Court

Employers, while assessing the conveyance and leave & travel allowance (LTA) claims of their staff, are under no statutory obligation to collect supporting evidence and furnish them to tax authorities, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.

A bench comprising Justice SH Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam said that assessee employers are under no statutory obligation to collect bills and details to prove that the employees had utilised the amounts obtained against these claims on travel and related expenses.

According to prevailing rules, if claims on LTA and conveyance are not supported by journey bills, they would be taxed. For instance, on an LTA allowance of Rs 1 lakh, if documentary proof such as air tickets, taxi vouchers and other public transport bills are submitted only for Rs 50,000, then tax is applicable on the rest of the amount.

Regardless of the amount an executive is entitled to as LTA, tax laws allow air tickets only in the domestic sector for the claim.

The apex court order came in a plea by companies including Larsen &Toubro and ITI. In its defence, the revenue department had argued that assessee companies were under statutory obligation under Income Tax Act, 1961, and relevant rules, to collect documentary proof to show that their employee(s) had actually utilised the amount paid towards the leave travel concession and conveyance allowance.

Rejecting the plea, the court in its order said: “The beneficiary of exemption under Section 10(5) (of the Income Tax Act) is an individual employee. There is no circular of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) requiring the employer under Section 192 to collect and examine the supporting evidence to the declaration to be submitted by an employee(s).”

Anonymous said...

if somebody cd help me could i please get the authority which states that an army personel can vote in any constituency if he is a registered voter.My email address is mhtsrbh@gmail.com

Juomak said...

Unbelievable, political parties would never let this happen.This could be the beginning of an end of a corrupt era in Indian politics. God Bless.

Swarna said...

Finally, glad to see something happening on this matter.
A US citizen staying in India can cast his or her vote and have the satisfaction that the vote is precious, and it counts.

I am an Indian citizen who has served in the defence and other government service, but neither my spouse nor I have ever had the chance to vote. We have always been away from home for the past 20 years, during which time several elections have gone by; we have saluted umpteen defence ministers, and always placed country before self.

(I do not think any of the serving brethren have ever cast their vote. Postal ballot continues to be on paper).

Repeated requests at the local municipality office (at native place) have yielded no results. Perhaps our country can also have a system by which all eligible voters declare their political affiliations when they attain voting age, and then each favoured party can do the running around to get their voters registered.

I am an Indian citizen who believes that MPs and MLAs are accountable, I will also support the 'Right to Recall'. And as the ad for a popular tea brand extols, I awakened - long ago. Who wants my vote?"

Anonymous said...

The navy has registered their names in the electoral roll.At least in mumbai,vishakapatnam and Cochin,they would call the shots.Army and airforce too is doing all they can,but I guess navy has jumped ahead at least here

Anonymous said...

Integrated defence HQ was conceived to end all problems. But it is still in ventilator gasping for Breath. However it appears MOH has stolen a march over us. I understand they have managed to get two IPS officers expeienced in managing politicians as full fledged secretaries. No wonder they almost managed to get everything they wanted. As an interim measure till the health of IDHQ is known we should also get three secretaries posts to be filled up with serving officers. Any takers?