Lok Sabha passes bill to give votes to Cooch Behar residents

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to enable grant of voting rights to people in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal who became citizens of the country following the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.

The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the house after a reply by Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

The bill seeks to amend the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950 to empower the Election Commission to undertake limited delimitation in areas amalgamated in the Cooch Behar.

The enactment of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act 2015 resulted in exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in Indian territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladeshi territory with effect from July 31, 2015.

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The bill’s statement of objects and reasons says that persons who have opted to acquire or to retain Indian citizenship are required to be given voting rights in India.

The term of West Bengal assembly will come to end in May this year.

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