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Major relief to Kashmiri migrant voters; ECI abolishes cumbersome procedure of Form-M for migrants residing at Jammu and Udhampur

For migrants residing outside these areas, Form M will continue, but with self-attestation certificate instead of gazetted officer attestation

Special polling stations to be set up at all the migrants’ zones in Jammu and Udhampur

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12, 2024: 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 CEC Mr Rajiv Kumar along with Election Commissioners Mr 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 Form-M procedure subjects these voters to additional bureaucratic hurdles compared to other voters and also the process of filling out the Form-M is often complex and cumbersome, requiring specific documentation, proof of migration status and attestation by a gazetted officer.  The Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir also submitted his comments to the Commission on 09.04.2024 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, vide order No. 3/J&K-HP/2024(NS-I) dated 11.04.2024.

For migrant voters of Jammu and Udhampur:

  1. All the 22 special polling stations (21 in Jammu and 1 in Udhampur) shall be mapped to camps/zones individually, ensuring that every zone has at least one Special Polling Station. In case there are multiple polling stations in one zone, the zonal officers shall earmark the intra-zonal jurisdiction for each such polling station keeping in mind the distance/ease of approach for each set of electors.  In case there is any zone that does not have any of the existing Special Polling Stations, a new Special Polling Station shall be proposed by the ARO Migrant concerned in a suitable Government building following all extant directions of the Commission concerning setting up a polling station, including consultation with political parties. Consequent to this, the electors staying in these zones/camps shall be mapped to the respective polling stations by the respective AERO Migrants at Jammu and Udhampur.
  2. Electoral roll extracts corresponding to each of these Special Polling Stations shall be culled out of the basic electoral rolls of their respective assembly constituencies. Draft Electoral Roll Extracts, to be used as the rolls for respective Special Polling Stations, for each of the Zone shall be notified by the respective AERO Migrants at Jammu and Udhampur and published in the newspapers as well as given wide publicity by placing it at all conspicuous places in the zone including the Zone Office as well as other places of importance for the Migrants like Office of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner, J&K, websites, etc.  All electors within 7 days of the notification of the draft electoral roll extract, approach the respective Assistant Returning Officers (Migrant) at Jammu and Udhampur in case:
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