Coronavirus | Election Commission allows use of indelible ink to mark those quarantined

Decision in the wake of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ due to coronavirus pandemic..

March 25, 2020 08:13 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 06:42 am IST - NEW DELHI

Home quarantine stamp. (Representational image.)

Home quarantine stamp. (Representational image.)

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday said it had allowed the government to use indelible ink, which is normally used to mark voters, to mark people ordered quarantine themselves at home in view of the “extraordinary circumstances” due to the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic.

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In a letter to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, the ECI wrote that it had taken the suo motu decision to allow the use of indelible ink with certain conditions. The ECI’s decision followed several State governments using different stamps to mark those who had been ordered to quarantine at home after returning from abroad.

Rule 49K

The ECI wrote that according to Rule 49K of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 an elector is supposed to be marked on the fore finger of their left hand before casting the vote at a polling station. In case the elector does not have a fore finger on the left hand, any other finger of the left hand can be marked and in case the elector does not have any fingers on the left hand, the fore finger of the right hand can be marked. The ECI said the authorities concerned should be directed not to use the indelible ink on any finger of the left hand.

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“The Ministry may standardise the mark and the location on the body where the mark has to be applied so that it does not come in the way of conduct of elections anywhere in the country. The authorities concerned shall be instructed to maintain the record of the persons to whom indelible ink is applied,” the ECI wrote to the Health Ministry.


The Commission added that the authorities should ensure that the indelible ink is not used for any other purpose. The ECI said it wanted to inform the government that the “indelible ink mark is normally expected to last for three days when applied on the skin but lasts for a few weeks on the fingernail till the nail grows out.”

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