Union Cabinet learnt to have cleared bill on electoral reforms

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday is learnt to have cleared a bill on electoral reforms, including the one to link electoral roll with Aadhaar on a voluntary basis to root out multiple enrolments.

According to the bill, the electoral law will also be made “gender neutral” for service voters.

An army man’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to provisions in the electoral law. But this may change once the bill gets Parliament’s nod.

The poll panel had asked the law ministry to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ in the provision in the Representation of the People Act related to service voters.

Another provision of the proposed bill will allow the youth to enrol as voters on four different dates every year. As of now, those turning 18 on or before January 1 of every year are only allowed to register as voters.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had been pushing for multiple cut-off dates to allow more eligible people to register as voters.

Currently, for an election to be held in a particular year, only an individual who has attained the age of 18 years as on January 1 of that year or before is eligible to be enrolled in the voters’ list.

The EC had told the government that the January 1 cut-off date set for the purpose deprives several youngsters from participating in the electoral exercise held in a particular year.

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