December 4, 2022

How to be an elector in India?

Meaning of the word ‘Elector’

To be an elector in a constituency, a person’s name need to be entered in the electoral roll of that constituency, and s/he should not be subjected to any disqualification. [Section 2(e) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act, now on)]

Disqualification

A person shall be disqualified for registration in electoral roll if s/he,

  • is not a citizen of India; or
  • has declared of unsound mind by 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.

If any person’s name has been included in electoral roll and s/he suffers with any of disqualification mentioned above, his/her registration from electoral roll shall forthwith be struck off. And when such disqualification removes, his/her name shall forthwith be reinstated in that roll.  (Section 16 of the RP Act, 1950)

Who can be registered as an elector in electoral roll? (Section 19, RP Act, 1950)

For registration in electoral roll-

  • A person’s age should not be less than 18 years,
  • s/he should be ordinary resident in that constituency.

Meaning of ‘Ordinarily Resident’ (Section 20, RP Act, 1950)

  • A person shall not be considered ordinarily resident just because s/he owns, or is in possession of a dwelling houses in that constituency.
  • If a person temporarily absents from his/her constituency, this does not mean that s/he is disqualified as an ordinarily resident of that constituency.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

All the above provisions of law have to be read together and the conjoint effect thereof is that a person in order to qualify to be registered as an elector in relation to a constituency, besides fulfilling other qualifications, must be a citizen of India, not less than 18 years of age on the qualifying date (which by virtue of Section 14 of RP Act, 1950, means the first day of January of the year in which the electoral list of the constituency is prepared or revised), and, what is significant here, be “ordinarily resident” in that constituency.