Voting rights for NRIs: SC gives one week time to Centre to take decision

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The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Union Government one week time to take decision on granting voting rights to Non-Resident Indians (NRI).

An electronic voting machine

The Election Commisiion had earlier this month said that they can out in place a process to allow NRIs to vote within three months of the law being introduced.

Last year, a bench led by then Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur emphasised that NRIs cannot participate in the voting process unless there is an amendment in the law.

The EC had also submitted a report to the court in this matter in October 2014. The report was titled 'Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting by Overseas Electors'.

In 2015, The Union government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it had accepted Election Commission's recommendation to allow NRIs to vote through e-ballot system or through proxy, said reports.

The process that the EC is considering to adopt is the one-way postal ballot system which involves sending e-ballot papers to the voters. The voter are then required to return the ballot by post after having marked their choice. The system was introduced for armed forces personnel and service voters in October last year, said reports.

Nasim Zaidi, who retired as the Chief election commissioner (CEC) on July 5, had said that the commission has proposed a one-way e-postal ballot system for NRIs, but is awaiting for word from the law ministry.

The proposal can only be implemented after Parliament amends the Representation of the People Act and the Conduct of Election Rules.

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