THE INDIAN ARMY: ITS VOTING RIGHTS â€œQuartered in snow, silent to remain. When the bugle calls, they shall rise and march again.â€ – The scroll of honour at the Siachen base camp. INTRODUCTION: The history of the Indian armed forces can be traced back in the history of the formation of the independent country India.
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It was the only large voluntary organisation including people of varied profession to help in the liberation of the country from the hands of the British, who had made us they slave. The motto of the Indian Army is DO OR DIE, has actually helped the soldiers to be persistent in their effort against the enemies who have intruded into the country for any purpose from the ancient times to the Mughal and to the coming of East India Company. The Indian National Movement gave a push to the people of the country and their came up with the concept of Azad Hind Fauj or The Indian National Army by Subhash Chandra Bose which marked the stone for the formation of Indian Armed Forces. But it was originally founded by Captain Mohan Singh in Singapore in September 1942. During this time soldiers were recruited from various parts of the country that is from the Himalayas to the oceans and from the deserts to the extreme east in order to have collection of soldiers in the army to help the country to attain the much awaited independence. A separate fauj was made for the womenâ€™s named Rani Jhansi Regimentled by Lakshmi Swaminathan. At the rally of Indian National Army in Burma the famous words of Bose were spoken â€œGive me blood, and I shall give you freedom!â€  After 15th august 1947, the Indian Army got its own foundation rather than being under the British regime. Today, it has got its own soldiers full of armaments and various technologies to combat the enemies and intruders in the country. It has various regiments such as Punjab, Sikh Li, Sikh, Assam Riffles and many more with their own mens divided into platoons, battalion and units. The main purpose of the research paper would be to focus on the voting rights of the military personal. By first talking about the defects of the pervious voting system (Proxy voting and Ballot voting), the current scenario regarding their voting rights, the latest judgement provided by the Supreme court on their voting and suggesting some measures to have uniformity on their voting. RIGHT TO VOTE: India is a secular country with varied population, thus citizens have to be provided with certain rights and one of the most pivotal is RIGHT TO VOTE. What is right? Right is the privilege given to a citizen of a country irrespective of any kind of discrimination. Thus, our country provides a fundamental right to its citizen that is the right to vote in order to grab the opinions of the mass regarding a particular candidate or party. This right is provided to us in the form of universal adult franchise which means that â€œEvery adult above the age of 18years or above has the right to vote.â€ â€œThe people of India have declared their sovereignty and have proclaimed India as a â€˜democratic stateâ€™ in the preamble to the Constitution of India. Supreme Court of India has laid down that democracy is a basic feature of the Constitution and therefore beyond the amending powers of the Parliament.â€  In the words of Thomas M. Cooley who rightly observed that â€œsuffrage is participation in the Government in representative country, it is taking part on the choice of officers, or in the decisions of public questions. The purpose is to keep the continuity of Government, and to preserve the public order and the protection of individual rights. The purpose is therefore public and general not private and individual.â€ Article 326 of the Indian Constitution : Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.-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 and who is not less than eighteen 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 not otherwise disqualified under this Constitution or any law made by the appropriate Legislature on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at any such election under 62nd amendment. This is the legal provision and thus, everyone is entitled to it. But the scenario is that the military personnel are not provided this. But instead a different provision is provided to them, Proxy voting and Ballot system. PROXY VOTING: This provision is provided to some set of person besides the regular voting rights to citizen of the country. Service voters have been defined under section (8) of section 20 of representation of people act, 1950. One of them is armed personnel under sub section (a) and (b). Under Rule 27/N of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 a service elector may appoint any person as his proxy to give vote on his behalf and in his name. The proxy shall have to be ordinarily resident of that constituency. He must not be disqualified to be registered as voter. Thus, they are can appoint a proxy voter for themselves as their cannot vote at the place of their posting. Therefore, proxy voting means an appoint of a proxy of age 18 years and above, to cast the vote of the armed personnel, this is possible by the Indiaâ€™s Peopleâ€™s Representative Act amended in 2003. The appointment is made by Form 13F, the appointment continues till the proxy dies or it is revoked. Thus, a new proxy can be appointed by the Form 13G.  POSTAL BALLOT SYSTEM: This provision is give under part III of the conduct of Election Rules, 1961. The service voters other than the ones who have registered for proxy voting, can register for postal system. In this system the voters have to cast their vote in ballot papers, who must fill them out and return them, along with a form of certification by a witness and their signature to prove their identity and send it to the concerned constituencies to which they belong before the votes are counted, there is a relaxation of 10 days in this process, so that these masses can exercise their right in a positive way rather than neglecting this right and duty.
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