Udupi, Jan 26, 2018: Speaking after inaugurating the National Voters’ Day celebrations at Udupi on January 25, Thursday District and Sessions Court Judge Venkatesh Naik said that the survival of democratic values is highly dependent on a free and fair electoral process.
The judge said that transparent elections would enhance the value of democracy, besides empowering the nation towards egalitarian values. Stating that the public rule the country in a democratic set up, he said that the public decide whom to bring to power. Hence, the individual has the responsibility of actively participating in elections and exercising the right of being a citizen of the democratic country. The anti-people governance can be uprooted only through public opinion. The public can interfere indirectly in the process of governance in the democracy, he added.
Asserting that democracy should be for the people, by the people and of the people, the magistrate said that voting should be a voluntary responsibility as has been adopted in countries like Australia where voters who abstain from voting are punished by imposing a fine on them. "In contrast, countries like India, would embark upon creating awareness about voting rather than imposing a fine. The awareness over importance of voting is the need of the hour as most literate people abstain from voting, which is a tragedy," he said.
Elaborating on the punishment available for illegal activities during elections, he added that there are various sections affording punishments as per the intensity of the crime. In order to create awareness about voting, the Election Commission has decided to identify and felicitate millennium voters. Those voters born during and after January 2000 are considered as millennium voters. They are offered special voter identity cards. These millennium voters are identified and are used as brand ambassadors to create awareness about voting. Extensive awareness programmes about voting should be held to ensure that every eligible individual exercises his/her franchise, he reiterated.
Udupi DC Priyanka Mary Francis spoke and said that all individuals should cast their vote to bring in better governence. She said the Election Commission has also come up with a variety of programmes to ensure cent percent voting. She added that wheelchairs and ramps are offered for people with disabilities, while the visually impaired can cast their vote using braile script. The voters list has been revised with the inclusion of eligible voters and exclusion of the dead. She urged the students not to believe unnecessary messages imparted through social media. The DC said that those voters who are NRIs have been dropped. Non-document ballot voting systems allows only a recount of the "stored votes” and Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system verifies the electoral process, she said.