Election Commission won't fine people ₹350 for not voting in the 2024 general elections

By: Praveen Kumar
September 20 2023

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Election Commission won't fine people ₹350 for not voting in the 2024 general elections

A Hindi newspaper clipping claiming that banks will deduct ₹350 from the accounts of people who will not vote in general elections is being shared on social media. (Source: Facebook/Screenshots)


The Verdict False

A satirical article from 2019 is being used to claim that the Election Commission of India will deduct ₹350 from bank accounts.

Claim ID ccfc9720

What is the claim?

An alleged newspaper clipping in Hindi is being circulated online, with the headline, “If you don't vote, 350 rupees will be deducted from your bank account.” The subheading reads, “Election Commission took approval before the court.” This has been shared in the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections or general elections in 2024.

The viral article’s text reads, “This time, not voting in the Lok Sabha elections will prove costly. The Election Commission has issued a new order to crack down on those who abstain from voting. Those who do not vote will be identified through Aadhaar card, and Rs.350 will be deducted from their bank account linked to that card. The Commission has asked all banks to implement this order. The money spent by the Commission on the preparation of voters who do not come to vote is wasted."

The rest of the article reads, “Keeping in mind that no voter should go to court for this order, the Commission has already taken approval from the court. Now even a petition cannot be filed against this.

Examples of this claim shared online can be seen here and here.

This claim has been shared on Facebook by several users. (Source: Facebook/Screenshots)

However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has not passed any such order and the newspaper report being circulated was meant as a joke.

What we found

We found no official statements released by the ECI, banks, or any mobile network operator.

During our research, we found an article published on the website of the Hindi newspaper Navbharat Times in March 2019. It contains the same headline and text along with a disclaimer in brackets at the end, which reads, “Don't feel bad, it's Holi.” Apart from this detail, we noticed that the article on the Navbharat Times website is listed under the category Hindi News/Jokes/Fake News. 

The viral Navbharat Times article was published under the category Jokes and Fake News on its website. (Source: Navbharat Times)

However, this disclaimer mentioned above cannot be seen in the viral image, which shows the print version of the report.

We also found a clarification from Navbharat Times about the article dated March 23, 2019. It said, “If someone does not vote for any reason, no money will be deducted from his account. NBT had published a funny piece of news in its Holi special issue published on March 21.” The newspaper added that despite the disclaimer at the end of the viral article, people shared it widely. It added that the Election Commission had not issued any such order and apologized for causing confusion.

On March 23, 2019, the ECI spokesperson handle on X (formerly Twitter) noted that a clarification had been published by Navbharat Times “regarding the misleading item published by them as a Holi prank.” The X posts contain the viral newspaper clip and the clarification article. The second X post carried the newspaper clipping, the title of which reads, “It was funny news. Money will not be deducted for not voting.”

The clarification published by Navbharat Times was posted on X by the Election Commission of India spokesperson in 2019. (Source: X/Screenshots)

This is not the first time this claim has gone viral. It has routinely been shared since the piece was published by Navbharat Times. In 2019, Mumbai Mirror reported that this was fake news, quoting an unnamed election officer who said, “Voting is a right of every individual, they should exercise it. However, the social media posts are baseless.” NDTV reported in 2021 that despite ECI's clarification about the rumor, it was still circulated online and that Delhi Police had launched an investigation.

The verdict

An old satirical article published by Hindi news outlet Navbharat Times has been recirculated to claim that the ECI has ordered banks to deduct ₹350 from the accounts of people who don’t vote in the upcoming general elections in 2024. There have been no such official orders. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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