New Delhi, Jan 12: In a significant move, the Supreme Court has directed the central government to enable e-voting by NRIs within eight weeks.
Hearing a plea filed by Pravasi Bharat chairman Nagender Chindam, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the NRIs must be allowed to e-vote within 8 weeks of elections.
The bench also asked the Centre to inform it about "further steps taken to implement the suggestions."
The bench posted the matter after eight weeks, asking the Centre to do the needful at the earliest.
"Since the views and recommendation have been accepted let them go ahead with the follow-up. They will have to carry out the follow-up process at the earliest," the bench said.
The Centre's stand was clarified by Additional Solicitor General P L Narasimha, who said certain amendments are required to be carried out and the ministry of law is working on them, taking into consideration the EC recommendations. On November 14 last year, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to make its stand clear on the EC's proposal for allowing NRIs to cast their votes through proxy voting and e-ballots in polls in India.
The apex court had then granted four weeks time to the government to respond to the proposal prepared by a 12-member committee led by Vinod Zutshi, Deputy Election Commissioner, for 'Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting by Overseas Electors'.
In the report, the committee has said it is of the view that e-postal ballot, where blank postal ballot is transferred electronically to NRIs and returned by post, can be employed after validation of the process and pilot implementation in one or two constituencies.
The report further said the process can be scaled up for Parliamentary elections, if found feasible, practicable and meeting the objectives of free and fair polls.
(With inputs from agencies)