Kuala Lumpur, July 21 (ANI): Foreigners, regardless of their duration of stay in India, are not permitted to register themselves as voters in the country, said Indian High Commissioner Vijay Gokhale.
According to The Star, Gokhale said that this is the rule for them even if their spouse and children are Indian citizens.
"The registration can only be done when the person specifically revokes his or her foreign nationality and voluntarily applies for an Indian citizenship," he said.
Mageswari Koothan, whose citizenship was revoked by the Indian National Registration Department after her name had appeared in a voter registration list, said that while she had stayed on in India after marrying an Indian national at 16, she had returned to Malaysia regularly to visit her family and had neither registered as a voter nor voted in India.
However, according to Gokhale, voter registration in India is a conscious act that requires an individual to apply or register by submitting a form to the concerned electoral authorities.
"There is no provision under our laws for automatic registration or of the government of India revoking the foreign nationality or citizenship of any individual," he said.
The Election Commission of India's online guide for voters say that electoral rolls are prepared through a process of intensive revision where house-to-house enumeration is done. In between the five-year period, people who are left out of the electoral rolls are given an opportunity to register by applying using a specific form.
Meanwhile, Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan said that the council, depending on a case-to-case basis, would consider providing legal assistance to those who were caught in such situations. They may contact the council's Legal Aid Centre at 603-2031 3003. (ANI)