Only permanent residents can vote in polls

New Delhi—The Supreme Court of India has ruled that only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir can participate in voting for the so-called Kashmir Assembly, dealing a big blow to the efforts of ruling party BJP aimed at granting right to vote to Indian army personnel deployed in the territory.
Eminent lawyer and legal expert, Z A Shah while discussing the ruling in a media interview in Srinagar said, “A non-permanent resident can participate in voting only in (Indian) parliamentary elections.”He said the decision of Supreme Court relates to the voting rights of Indian armed forces posted in Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian daily The Hindustan Times in a report said that the Supreme Court ruled that allowing the voting right to the forces’ personnel “may result in change of demographic character of the area affecting the local populace and electoral profile”.
“There are some areas where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in force. There is a simmering tension between the forces and the local population, and therefore giving them such a facility could lead to exacerbating tension,” the report said.
The ruling was given by the SC bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Prafulla C Pant on a petition filed by an army officer’s wife Neela Gokhale seeking directives on voting rights, the newspaper reported.—KMS

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