National Voters Day
- The 12th National Voters’ Day was celebrated across the country today on January 25, 2021.
- In the national function held at New Delhi, Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu’s message as the Chief Guest on the occasion was delivered virtually.
- In his message, he appreciated the Election Commission for its consistent efforts to improve voter turnout and also enhance the integrity of the election process
- Inorder to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process, Government of India has decided to celebrate January 25 every year as “National h Voters’ Day”.
- It has been started from 25 January 2011 to mark Commission’s foundation day.
The Sixty-first Amendment
- The Sixty-first Amendment of the Constitution of India, officially known as The Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act, 1988, lowered the voting age of elections to the Lok Sabha and to the Legislative Assemblies of States from 21 years to 18 years.
- This was done by amending Article 326 of the Constitution, which concerns elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies.
- Article 326 of the Constitution of India deals with elections to the Houses and to the State Legislative Assemblies on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
- The article before being amended by the 61st Amendment stated that any citizen of India who is 21 years or above, and who is not disqualified on any other grounds such as non-residence, crime, corrupt or illegal practices or unsoundness of mind, is eligible to vote at an election.
- The proposal to reduce the voting age to 18 years was brought about to increase the participation of the youth in the electoral process of the country.
- Today, in India about 52 lakh voters are 18 years of age and they do play a decisive role in the outcome of the elections happening in India.
- In 2011, there was a talk of reducing the age further to 16 years but nothing has come of it so far.
- The Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act, 1988 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 13th December 1988 by the then Water Resources Minister B. Shankaranand.
- It was debated and passed by the lower house on 15th The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 20th December. As per law, more than half the state legislatures had to ratify the bill and this was duly obtained. Only five states, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura did not ratify.
- The bill received the presidential assent on 28th March 1989 when the then President R Venkataraman assented it.
- Thus, the act came into force on 28th March 1989 and from that day onwards, any citizen who is otherwise qualified could participate in the democratic processes in India from the age of 18 years.
Source The Hindu