Election Commission decides against postal ballot for those above 65 years

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday decided not to extend the facility of postal ballot to electors above 65 years of age in the Bihar Assembly polls and bypolls due in the near future in view of constraints of logistics, manpower and safety protocols of Covid-19.

The decision had drawn much flak, with political parties accusing the poll panel of pandering to the interests of the ruling party.

However, the EC, in a statement, said the facility of optional postal ballot to electors who are above 80 years of age, voters with physical disabilities, electors engaged in essential services and voters who are Covid-19 positive or are in quarantine (home or institutional) will be extended in these elections.

In October last year, the Law Ministry amended the Conduct of Election Rules to allow people with disabilities and those who are 80 years of age or above to opt for postal ballot during the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

However, the ministry on June 19 had cleared a fresh change in the rules, allowing those aged 65 years and above to opt for postal ballot.

While amending the rules on the suggestions of the Election Commission, the ministry also allowed "Covid-19 suspected or affected persons" to use the postal ballot facility.

"However, before implementing this enabling provision, due notification is issued by the commission, under section 60(c) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 at the time of election," an EC statement said.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided against issuing the notification relating to voters who are 65 years or above.

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