Not held for last 3 years, ECI orders Special Summary Revision in J&K

Schedule of Special Summary Revision in J&K.
Schedule of Special Summary Revision in J&K.

Electoral Rolls to be published on Oct 31
*Another major step towards conduct of Assembly polls

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, June 30: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has dropped yet another indication that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir could be held by end of this year or start of next year as it has ordered special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls in the Union Territory after three years.
The Special Summary Revision of Photo Electoral Rolls with effect from October 1, 2022 as the qualifying date in Jammu and Kashmir has been ordered in a detailed order released today by the Election Commission of India to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), a copy of which is in possession of the Excelsior.
“Due to various administrative reasons, the annual revision of Electoral Rolls couldn’t be undertaken in Jammu and Kashmir after Special Summary Revision, 2019. In the meantime, delimitation exercise of constituencies in the Union Territory was also in progress and finally delimitated constituencies were notified by the Commission on May 5 this year,” the Election Commission said in its detailed order.
It added that since revision of Electoral Rolls was not conducted for last three years in Jammu and Kashmir, the newly eligible electors couldn’t get themselves registered in the rolls. In view of this, in order to update Electoral Rolls on the basis of newly delimitated constituencies so that all newly eligible young electors can have the opportunity to get themselves enrolled, the exercise of Special Summary Revision with reference to the next qualifying date is required to be undertaken without further delay.
In this context, the Commission has started pre-revision activities in Jammu and Kashmir which will culminate on August 31, 2022.
“The Commission has decided to order Special Summary Revision, 2022 with respect to October 1, 2022 as the next qualifying date for preparation of Electoral Rolls after conclusion of the ongoing pre-revision activities,” the ECI order said.
As per the schedule released by the Election Commission, Integrated Draft Electoral Rolls will be published on September 1 while period for filing claims and objections is from September 1 to September 30. Special campaign dates have been fixed as two Saturdays and Sundays within claims and objection period, which will be proposed by the Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir.
Claims and objections will be disposed on October 15 while October 25 has been fixed for checking of health parameters and obtaining Commission’s permission for final publication and updating database and printing of supplements.
The Electoral Rolls will be published on October 31.
As per the communication, the CEO shall ensure that all activities of pre-revision exercises as prescribed in Commission’s shall be completed before draft publication of Electoral Rolls.
“A field for furnishing Aadhaar number has been provided in the registration form. However, no application for inclusion of name in Electoral Rolls shall be denied and no entries shall be deleted for inability of an individual to furnish or intimate Aadhaar numbers,” the communiqué said.
It added that list of all claims and objections received should be put up on website of the CEO so that citizens are able to see the list and lodge objections with the concerned Electoral Returning Officer (ERO).
In addition to this, adequate publicity should be given by the CEO to the fact that list of claims and objections is available on his/her website and objections can be raised before the EROs based on the list. This should also be informed to the political parties by holding meeting and sending written communication to them, the EC order read.
It said for the purpose of improving health of Electoral Rolls, the Election Commission has emphasized the need of field verification by the Booth Level Officers. As per the normal practice being followed, the Electoral Registration Officers after digitization of claims and objections received by gum, deputes Booth Level Officer concerned to make field verification in connection with the claim of objections.
“The Booth Level Officers after on spot verification submit his report to the Electoral Registration Officer,” the communication said.
The Electoral Registration Officers have been asked to ensure that names of all Members of Parliament and the Legislature, holders of declared offices, personalities from the field of arts, culture, journalism, sports, members of judiciary and public services are these in the proposal Draft Electoral Roll.
To avoid wrongful deletion of the names of such electors in future, appropriate flagging should be done in the electoral database.
The Special Summary Revision, it may be mentioned, couldn’t be held in Jammu and Kashmir for last three years in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
It wasn’t conducted in 2019 due to August 5 decisions of the Central Government while in 2020 and 2021 it was deferred because of ongoing process of delimitation of Assembly constituencies.
With publication of Electoral Rolls on October 31, the Commission can hold Assembly elections in J&K either in November December this year or March-April next year, if situation permits.
Conduct of elections is prerogative of the Election Commission but it has to take situation report from the Union Home Ministry and J&K Government in view of militancy.
The Commission can also depute its Independent Observers for assessment of the situation.