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Relief to Kashmiri migrant voters; ECI abolishes cumbersome procedure of Form-M

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Srinagar, Apr 12 : In a major decision to facilitate voting by Kashmiri migrants in the ongoing general elections 2024, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has abolished the cumbersome procedure of filling form-M for the displaced people from valley who are residing in Jammu and Udhampur.

Additionally, for the migrants residing outside Jammu and Udhampur (who will continue to submit Form M), ECI has authorized the self-attestation of the certificate appended with Form-M, thus removing the hassle of getting this certificate attested by the gazetted officer. The decision was taken by the Commission after a meeting today chaired by chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.

“Various representations were received from several Kashmiri Migrant groups projecting the difficulties they face in filling of Form-M every election which brings a lot of hassle to them in exercising their right to franchise,” the poll- body said. The Form-M procedure subjected these voters to additional bureaucratic hurdles compared to other voters and also the process of filling out the Form-M was complex and cumbersome, requiring specific documentation, proof of migration status and attestation by a gazetted officer.

As per ECI, the chief electoral officer, Jammu and Kashmir also submitted his comments to the Commission on April 9, 2024 with due consultation and in full agreement with the political parties.

The Commission after taking into consideration the representations received from several Kashmiri migrant groups regarding the scheme, feedback from the political parties and comments of the chief electoral officer, UT of Jammu and Kashmir, notified the scheme for Kashmiri migrants to vote in person at transitory camps and voting by means of postal ballot pertaining to the ongoing general election to Lok Sabha, 2024—(KNO)

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