I stay in Bengaluru and I lost my Voter Id card recently. I used to keep it in my wallet all the time and use it whenever anyone asks for Id proof. I don’t know how I lost it but it might have dropped from my wallet somehow. I was quite concerned about this as there was possibility of it being misused.
I looked up on Google how to get the duplicate voter Id. It was mentioned that one needs to file an FIR at the police station, visit the Voter facilitation center of your area and fill up a form to get the duplicate copy. There is also an online procedure but that also required the FIR. So the first task was to file an FIR and being an Indian I knew that the task was not so simple.
First police station
I went to the police station close to my house. This was about half kilometer from my home and was the place I had visited earlier for my Passport Address verification. There was only one person in a room at the entrance typing a document on the computer. There was a visitor sitting with him. There was one another person inside in plain clothes and also seemed to be admin guy. There were two traffic police standing outside the police station. I found it typical that there was nobody asking when a citizen walks in needing help. I waited 5 minutes hoping the guy working on the computer will look at me. At last realizing this is not going work I went up and asked the guy where to file the FIR. He did not even bother to look up and said that this station is converted into Traffic station and asked me to go to another station which was about 2 km from my house. I didn’t know when this station got converted to Traffic station. There was no signs on the outside suggesting this. Now I had to go to another station which is quite far and it was in a highly crowded market area which I didn’t like. There was another police station nearby and told the guy I stay nearby do I need to go to this faraway station. He mentioned “yes” and I had no choice.
At Second police station
I reached the second police station. It was not easy to find as it was quite hidden in the crowded market area. In the ground floor there was a room but nobody was there. I was wondering where to go. Somebody nearby mentioned I need to go to first floor. I went there and asked the constable I have to file an FIR. He pointed to the table where another constable was sitting. I mentioned to him that I have lost my voter Id and need to file an FIR. He said “who files a FIR for Voter Id”. It seemed nobody had filed an FIR for voter Id. But I persisted that it is needed for duplicate Id. Then he started asking where is you house. I mentioned a landmark near my house. He started asking exactly where it is. Whether it is this side or that side of the landmark saying this side is his and that side is other police station. It seemed clear he wanted to avoid filing FIR and trying to find an excuse that my house does not come under his jurisdiction. After giving the exact address he said it does not come under this jurisdiction. I tried to persist saying I just need to file an FIR and no investigation is required. But he gave lame excuses saying inquiry will come and asked to go to the third police station.
At Third police station
I went to the third station. The constable there was talking on phone and I was asked to wait. After the call, he made few more phone calls as I waited for more than 5 minutes. At last he had his attention on me and I mentioned that my Voter Id is lost and I want to file the FIR. Like the constable at other station he also started repeating same story. Who files an FIR for Voter Id and asked the location of my house. When I gave the landmark asked for the exact location and said that it does not come under this jurisdiction and asked me to go to second police station. I told him that I already went to two other stations and they said it does not come under their jurisdiction. He continued his same talk trying to avoid filing the FIR. When I persisted at last he agreed and said that it has to be typed and asked to wait. When I asked if it can’t just be written statement he started talking in singular in Kannada and bossing me around. Agreed I didn’t know the procedure but this was not the way I was supposed to be treated. I did not like this and responded to be treated properly and he started asking What work I do and trying to show that he is superior. After waiting for about 10 minutes another lady constable took my details and entered the details into the mobile app and gave me the printout of the FIR. I had to sign one copy and return it and take the other copy with me.
At the Voter Facilitation Center
The task of filing FIR took more than 2 hours and the next task was to go to the Voter Facilitation Center. A Search on the Karnataka Election commision website pointed me to the Office of Assistant Revenue Officer in the locality nearby. I went there and there were two people there working on some files. When asked about duplicate Voter Id, he was asking where do you pay property tax and come back finding about it. I could sense that this was the same jurisdiction excuse. I mentioned this is the place and then he said that come back after a month without giving any explanation. Then the other guy got involved and I had to repeat my whole story even though he could plainly hear what I had said till that point. This guy said they were busy in tax work and ask to come back after 3 months when they start updating voter list. When I asked about the procedure, again he said they are busy and not to trouble them. So I had to go back empty handed for now cursing the bureaucracy of my country.
So my first part of the tale of getting duplicate voter Id ends here and I will continue this and see how I will get my duplicate Voter Id.