Eligibility to Vote in India and exceptions

 Voting is a fundamental right and an essential aspect of democracy. In India, every citizen has the right to vote, enabling them to participate in the democratic process. However, certain eligibility criteria and exceptions exist. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the eligibility to vote in India and the exceptions that apply in specific situations.

 Eligibility to Vote in India and exceptions

Eligibility to Vote in India and exceptions

  1. General Eligibility to Vote: To be eligible to vote in India, you must meet the following criteria:
  • Citizenship: You must be a citizen of India.
  • Age: You should be 18 years of age or above on the qualifying date.
  1. Exceptions to the Minimum Age Requirement: While the minimum age to vote in India is 18, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
  • Citizens who will turn 18 years old on or before the first day of January of the electoral roll's coming into force are eligible to register as voters.
  • In some states, such as Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum voting age is 17 years.
  1. Exceptions for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs):
  • NRIs who are citizens of India and are not residing in India are not eligible to vote in person. However, they have the option to vote through the proxy voting facility. The Representation of the People Act, of 1950, was amended to include proxy voting for NRIs.
  • NRIs can appoint a proxy (another eligible Indian citizen) to cast their vote on their behalf in their respective constituency.
  1. Exceptions for Service Personnel:
  • Service personnel belonging to the armed forces, central armed police forces, and the armed police of a state can vote through a special postal ballot system.
  • This personnel, including their spouses, can opt for postal ballots, enabling them to vote even if they are serving in remote locations.
  1. Exceptions for People in Detention:
  • People who are in lawful custody in prisons or other detention centres are not eligible to vote.
  • However, individuals who are under preventive detention (detained without being charged with a specific crime) can still exercise their right to vote.
  1. Exceptions for People with Mental Illness:
  • Individuals who have been declared to be of unsound mind by a competent court and stand disqualified by law are not eligible to vote.


Understanding the eligibility criteria to vote in India is crucial to exercise your democratic rights. While the general requirements include citizenship and age, exceptions exist for certain categories of individuals such as NRIs, service personnel, people in detention, and those with mental illness. By knowing these exceptions, we can ensure that every eligible citizen has an opportunity to participate in the democratic process and contribute to shaping the future of our nation. Remember, voting is not only a right but also a responsibility that helps strengthen our democracy.

How to vote in India - Complete Guide - HERE

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