Ahead of Bihar polls, voters above 65 years, COVID-19 patients get postal ballot rights
The decision follows Election Commission’s June proposal in which it had requested the lAW Ministry to enlarge the ambit of use of postal ballot facility to people aged 65 years and corona patients
The Centre has allowed voters above 65 years and COVID-19 positive people under home or institutional quarantine to use postal ballot to cast their votes in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a gazette notification issued last month, the Law Ministry gave its nod for amending the Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules 2020.
The decision follows the Election Commission's June proposal in which it had requested the Ministry to enlarge the ambit of use of postal ballot facility to people aged 65 years, reducing it from 80 years, and those under quarantine or home isolation due to Covid-19.
Medical research has shown while people of all ages can be infected by coronavirus, elderly people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to the disease.
According to a Health Ministry advisory, citizens above 65 years have been advised to stay indoors due to coronavirus.
On the recommendation of the ECI, on October 22, 2019, the amendment enabling postal ballot facility to senior citizens (above the age of 80 years) and for persons with disability, was introduced to provide them the choice of voting from the comforts of their homes.
Last month, the ECI not only requested the Ministry of Law and Justice to extend the postal ballot facilities to all electors above 65 years of age, but also to all Covid-19-positive electors under home isolation or institutional quarantine to reduce crowding at the polling stations.
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