Bill to Grant NRI Voting Rights to be Tabled in Parliament Winter Session
Once the bill is passed and enacted, over 25 million NRIs will be able to vote through postal or e-ballots.
A bill to grant NRI’s and Overseas Indians voting rights will be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the parliament.
The Central government told the Supreme Court Dec. 6 that the bill to amend the electoral law to allow voting rights to the NRIs will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming winter session.
The Lok Sabha had already passed it on August 9, the Indian Express reported.
Once the bill is passed and enacted, over 25 million overseas Indians/NRIs will be able to vote through postal or e-ballots. A division bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta slated the hearing for January 2019 after hearing the submission of Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni. The court was hearing the petitions filed by two NRIs, Shamsheer VP from Kerala and Nagender Chindam, chairman of the UK-based Pravasi Bharat, the publication reported.
According to their petition, 114 countries, including 20 in Asia, have adopted external voting, which could be held by setting up polling booths at diplomatic missions or through postal, proxy or electronic voting.
If the bill is passed, NRIs would be able to vote in the next general elections scheduled for April-May 2019.
Right now, only defense personnel are permitted to vote through a proxy.
However, the facility for the NRIs will not be the same as that enjoyed by the services personnel. According to the proposal, the NRI voters will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election and one person can act as a proxy for only one overseas voter, the publication reported.