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A country’s democracy may be healthy only when the Parliamentary and State Assembly elections are held in a free and fair manner. The elector should be free to cast his vote in favour of a candidate of his choice. Not only this but also it is the precondition for conduct of clean elections, that a real voter only may exercise his franchise and nobody make a bogus voting in name of other person. This issue from time to time has been discussed in the Parliament, since long and not only that, but in 1958, by passing the 61st amendment in the R.P. Act, 1951, a special provision was made to the effect that a provision shall be made by framing required rules to use Electors’ Photo Identity Cards for the identity of electors with a view to preventing bogus voting during elections.
With a view to implementing this amendment of the R.P. Act, a provision was made under rule 28 of the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 that the Election Commission is competent to issue elector’s photo identity cards to the voters for their identity during the elections and to prevent bogus voting. Thus, inspite of the fact that the issue was under consideration for a long period in the country to prevent bogus voting and issue electors Photo Identity Cards to the voters for their identity and making the constitutional provision, it was not become possible to implement this programme. For the first time, the EPIC scheme was implemented in 1979 during the State Assembly Election in Sikkim State. Thereafter, in 1980 the scheme was state wise implemented in north east States including Assam and Meghalaya.
Thereafter in 1993, the Election Commission decided to issue EPICs to the voters under a nation wide programme and for that a time bound programme was prepared for all States. Almost all the States implemented this programme and some of the States achieved success in a big way. Out of total electors about 52% were issued EPICs in the country up to December 1996. However, seven to eight States have completed the work of issuing