Chief Electoral Officer, Government of Tamil Nadu

            

IV. Electoral Rolls- Preparation & Updation

The democratic system in India is based on the principle of universal adult suffrage; i.e., any citizen of India over the age of 18 on a prescribed qualifying date (1st of January of the year in which the electoral roll is prepared or revised) is entitled to get himself enrolled as an elector for an election to Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly. Before 1989, the age limit was 21. Those who are of unsound mind, and people convicted of certain criminal and electoral offences and corrupt practices at elections are not allowed to vote.

The electoral roll of a constituency is a list of all people in that constituency who are registered to vote in the elections. Only those people (electors) whose names are there in the electoral rolls are allowed to vote. The electoral roll is normally revised every year to add the names of those who are not less than 18 years as on the 1st day of January of that year or have moved in the constituency and to remove the names of those who have died or moved out of the constituency. The updating of electoral rolls is a continuous process which is interrupted only at the time of elections during the period from after the last date of filing nominations till the completion of elections.

According to Article 325 of the Constitution of India, there shall be one general electoral roll for every territorial constituency for election to either House of Parliament or to the House or either House of Legislature of a State and no person shall be ineligible for inclusion in any such roll or claim to be included in any special electoral roll for any such constituency on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or any of them.

According to Article 326 of the Constitution of India, the elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage; that is to say, every person who is a citizen of India who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 years of age on such date as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate Legislature and is otherwise not disqualified under this Constitution or any law made by the appropriate Legislature on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or illegal practice, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at any such election.

For every Assembly constituency there shall be an electoral roll which shall be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 under the superintendence, direction and control of the Election Commission.

The electoral roll for a Parliamentary Constituency shall consist of the electoral rolls of all the Assembly Constituencies comprised within that Parliamentary Constituency.

The Representation of the People Act, 1950 provides for the qualifications and disqualifications for registration in electoral rolls, the administrative machinery in the field for the proper preparation and revision of rolls and the manner in which the rolls should be prepared or revised.

According to section 16 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, a person shall be disqualified for registration in an electoral roll if he-

  • is not a citizen of India; or

  • is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; or

  • is for the time being disqualified from voting under the provisions of any law relating to corrupt practices and other offences in connection with elections.

Entry in the electoral roll of a constituency is essential for entitling a person to vote in that constituency.

No person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for more than one constituency. Similarly, no person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for any constituency more than once.

Subject to the above provisions, every person who-

  • is not less than 18 years of age on the qualifying date (i.e., 1st day of January), and

  • is ordinarily resident in a constituency,

shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for that constituency.

Section 21 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 provides that 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.

The qualifying date in this context has been defined in section
14 (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 to mean the first day of January of the year in which the electoral roll is prepared or revised.

Section 22 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 empowers the Electoral Registration Officer for a constituency to take remedial action after giving the person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of the action proposed to be taken in relation to him, in the event of any entry being erroneous or defective, entry 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 deletion of the entry on account of death of a person or the person ceases to ordinarily reside in the constituency or is otherwise not entitled to be registered in that roll.

Section 23 provides for inclusion of names in electoral rolls in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the rules there under. However, no 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, between the last date of making nominations for an election in that constituency or in a parliamentary constituency within which that constituency is comprised and the completion of that election.

The Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 framed under the said Act set out in detail the procedure to be followed in the preparation or revision of electoral rolls as well as the consideration and disposal of appeals arising out of non-inclusion or wrong inclusion of names in the rolls.

.In an Intensive revision, enumerators visit each house and note down the particulars of the eligible members of the house in an Electoral Card. A copy of the Electoral card is handed over to the head of the household or, in his absence, to any adult member of the family. On the basis of such enumeration, draft rolls are prepared and published inviting claims and objections. After disposal of such claims and objection the rolls are finally published.

In Summary Revision there is no house to house enumeration. The existing roll is published as draft inviting claims and objections. Claims and objections are invited for inclusion and deletions in Form 6 and 7 respectively. For correcting any defects in the elector’s data the claimants have to submit Form 8. Enquiry of a summary nature is conducted on applications received. Thereafter supplementary lists indicating additions, deletions and modifications are published. It is possible that at a given time there are multiple supplementary lists which together with a last finally published roll constitute the current roll.

In a partly Intensive and partly Summary revision, existing rolls are published as draft. Simultaneously, enumerators are sent to the each household. They prepare lists of additions/deletions. After disposing of claims and objections integrated lists of addition/deletions are prepared which together with main roll form the Electoral Rolls.

Where by reason of any inaccuracies in the rolls such as failure to cover any place or localities or blocks or any section of voters of any other reasons the Commission considers it necessary to do so, the Commission may, after recording such reasons, order Special Revision of the roll of any constituency or part thereof. The procedure for carrying out special revision is determined by the Commission in each case having regard to the circumstances of the case and other relevant factors. It may be Intensive, Summary or partly Intensive and partly summary.

The Electoral Registration System in India essentially is in the nature of a continuous updation even though this is not widely known as such or utilized except during the period when elections are held. As per the law applications for inclusion/ deletion of names or modifications or entries in the roll can be given at any time even after the election process has started but during the latter the requests can be acted upon only up to the last date of making nominations. Only during the period between the last date for making nomination and the date of completion of electoral process no addition, deletion / modification can be effected in the Electoral Roll. As with summary revision, supplementary lists are produced containing additions and deletions or modifications of entries allowed during the period intervening between the last final publication and the last date of making nominations. It is quite possible that such a supplementary list is in addition to the supplementary list which has been produced through summary or intensive revision earlier.

Fidelity of electoral rolls is an essential pre-requisite for conduct of free and fair elections. This implies there should not be in the electoral roll

  • any name missing

  • any surplus name (dead/ shifted person) or

  • duplication of any entry

The Election Commission announces the schedule for annual revision of rolls. The Commission may order a special revision at any time, if required

During the process of annual or mid-year revision of rolls, the existing e. roll is published as draft roll at all designated locations on the date specified for publication of draft roll. Forms for inclusion/ deletion/ correction/ transposition are provided to applicants & filled in Forms received by designated officers during the period specified for filing claims & objections.

The designated centres are the offices of EROs, AEROs, polling station buildings

  • To be eligible for registration in the rolls (and for voting), a person should have attained the age of 18 years as on the 1st of January of the year in which revision of rolls is taken up

  • The person should be ordinarily resident in the place where he seeks registration

  • Applications in bulk will not be accepted, including from Resident Welfare Association, NGOs, political representatives, etc.

  • Forms should be filed only by the applicant or by one of his family members; they should be signed by the applicant/ claimant only.

  • Residence proof such as xerox copy of ration card, Bank pass book, identity card etc bearing the address of the elector should be furnished with the application

  • Age proof such as birth certificate, Transfer certificate, for first time inclusion at the age of 18 and above should be furnished.

  • Electors have to furnish correct information in the respective Forms while filing claims/objections

Giving false information incl. showing age to be 18 and above as on 1st of January from under aged persons is a punishable offence as per the provisions under section 31 of ROP Act, 1950 which provides that if any person makes in connection with

(a) the preparation, revision or correction of an electoral roll, or

(b) the inclusion or exclusion of any entry in or from an electoral roll,

a statement or declaration in writing which is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

[This provision has been included in Forms 6, 7, 8, 8A itself for information of the applicants.]

Forms for inclusion/ deletion/ correction/ transposition- 6, 7, 8 & 8A

  • Every claim shall be in Form-6 by the person desiring to include for the first time his/her name in e. roll of AC in which he is residing

  • Electors who have moved from some other AC also have to apply in Form 6 for inclusion of their names in their new address under the respective Part/ AC

[On the other hand, people already registered, who move within the same AC have to apply in Form 8A]

Form 6 should be filed with Form 001A with passport size photos to enable the preparation and issue of EPIC.

  • Every objection to the inclusion of a name not eligible to be included in the electoral roll should be in Form-7 preferred only by a person whose name is already included in that roll

  • For defects or errors in any entry in e. roll, Form-8 application has to be preferred (only) by the person to whom the entry relates for making corrections in the entry.

In case of image being wrong, Form 001A (with photo) should also be filed along with Form 8

  • Persons desiring to transpose their names from one Part of the electoral roll to another Part within the same Constituency should apply in Form 8A

[Electors who have moved from some other AC have to apply in Form 6]

Applications/ Forms filed can be type-written, cyclostyled, Photostat or manuscript also.

In case of electors who have moved within the polling area or outside the polling area or outside the constituency, full details together with previous address should be mentioned without fail along with EPIC details on the second page of Form-6/8A.

[During non-Revision period, every application for inclusion/ deletion/ modification should be made in duplicate in appropriate Form such as 6, 7, 8, 8A, in accordance with the provisions under rule 26 of the Registration of Electors Rules 1960.]

Lists for the Forms 6, 7, 8, 8A received are prepared in

Form 9 (for Forms received for inclusion),

10 (for Forms received for deletion),

11 (for Forms received for correction)

11A (for Forms received for transposition)

and displayed by the EROs at each location.

Claims & objections recd. are inquired and after the ERO passes orders, supplements are prepared and the rolls (draft mother rolls + supplementaries) are finally published.

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