Govt to push bill for NRIs to vote


New Delhi: A bill to amend the elec­toral law to al­low Non-Res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) to vote through postal or ebal­lots will be in­tro­duced in the up­com­ing win­ter ses­sion of Par­lia­ment, the Cen­tre in­formed the Supreme Court on Fri­day.

A bench of Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra and Jus­tices AM Khan­wilkar and DY Chan­drachud con­sid­ered the sub­mis­sion of the Cen­tre and ac­ceded to its re­quest that the hear­ing on pe­ti­tions seek­ing vot­ing rights for NRIs, be ad­journed.

Lawyer PK Dey, ap­pear­ing for Cen­tre, sought ad­journ­ment for six months on the ground that the Bill would be tabled in the Win­ter Ses­sion. How­ever, the bench de­ferred the hear­ing by 12 weeks.

On July 21, At­tor­ney Gen­eral KK Venu­gopal had told the apex court that NRIs could not be al­lowed to vote by merely chang­ing the rules made un­der the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Peo­ple (RP) Act and a Bill was needed to be in­tro­duced in Par­lia­ment to amend the Act it­self to grant the vot­ing rights.

The court had on July 14 asked the Cen­tre to de­cide whether it would amend the elec­toral law or rules to al­low NRIs to vote by postal or ebal­lots in the polls in the coun­try, tak­ing note of the fact that the Cen­tre and the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia (ECI) were agree­able to the re­port of a panel that NRIs might be al­lowed to vote.

The poll panel had said the move to al­low NRIs to use proxy vot­ing on the lines of de­fence per­son­nel and e-bal­lot fa­cil­ity would re­quire changes either in the RP Act or in the rules made un­der the Act.

Par­lia­ment build­ing

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