In­dia’s top court asks govt by when law will be changed on NRI vot­ing

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

In­dia’s Supreme Court on Fri­day asked the Union gov­ern­ment to ap­prise it within two weeks about the time­frame by when it would bring a bill to amend the elec­toral law to al­low Non-Res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) to vote through postal or e-bal­lots.

A bench of Chief Jus­tice J S Khe­har and Jus­tice D Y Chan­drachud con­sid­ered the state­ment of At­tor­ney Gen­eral K K Venu­gopal 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 to grant vot­ing rights to them, the news agency Press Trust of In­dia re­ported.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral also in­formed the bench that a group of Union min­is­ters has held a meet­ing to ex­am­ine var­i­ous as­pects of the is­sue in­clud­ing amend­ing the law.

The court had on July 14 asked the Union gov­ern­ment to de­cide in a week whether it would amend the elec­toral law or rules to al­low NRIs to vote by postal or e-bal­lots while tak­ing note of the fact that the Union gov­ern­ment and the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia were agree­able to the re­port of a panel that they might be al­lowed to vote.

Dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings, Venu­gopal ruled out the op­tion of amend­ing the rules and said that the law has to be suit­ably changed.

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.

The Union gov­ern­ment had said that in prin­ci­ple, it was agree­able to the rec­om­men­da­tions made in the re­port pre­pared by a 12-mem­ber com­mit­tee led by the deputy elec­tion com­mis­sioner Vinod Zut­shi to ex­plore the fea­si­bil­ity of al­ter­na­tive op­tions for vot­ing by over­seas elec­tors.

For­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi, ap­pear­ing for one of the pe­ti­tion­ers, had ear­lier said that NRIs could be given the right to vote by mak­ing changes in the rules only and there was no need to amend the pro­vi­sions of the RP Act.

The bench was hear­ing a batch of pe­ti­tions filed by Na­gen­der Chin­dam, who is the chair­man of Lon­don-based Pravasi Bharat or­gan­i­sa­tion and other NRIs in­clud­ing Shamsheer V P on the is­sue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.