NRI voting rights: Centre agrees to amend law, Seeks two weeks time

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India’s Central government has agreed to amend the law wherein NRIs had to travel to India to vote during elections.

Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court that the government has accepted in principle that the facility of voting from the foreign land could be extended to NRIs.

He said that a group of ministers met on Thursday and it was decided that the Representation of People Act will have to be amended to enable NRIs to vote without coming to India.

Centre has sought two weeks time for submitting reply in the Court regarding the changes to be made in Representation of People’s Act.

The Supreme Court had last week given one week to the government to take a decision on giving voting rights to the NRIs.

The top court is hearing a batch of petitions on various issues related to NRIs voting rights.

Under the current legal regime, overseas voters can cast their votes only “in their constituencies”, which require them to fly down.

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Earlier, an EC panel had recommended allowing voting for the NRIs through proxy and e-postal ballot. The poll panel had ruled out the possibility of allowing NRIs to vote through the Internet or at diplomatic missions abroad for the time being.

The decision to allow over 10 million NRIs, of whom 24,348 are registered with the Election Commission, to vote through a postal ballot will offer expatriates a chance to participate in the country’s electoral process without having to be physically present at the polling stations.

Published on 22 July 2017

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