Monday, January 12, 2015

NRIs can now vote in Indian polls without coming here

NRIs can now vote in Indian polls without coming here
New Delhi:

Govt Agrees To EC Proposal For E-Ballot Or Proxy
Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will soon be able to cast their vote through electronic ballots or through their nominees residing in India, but will not be able to exercise their franchise through the novel method during the coming Delhi assembly polls.The Union government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it had accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to allow NRIs to vote through e-ballot system or through proxy . The EC discarded other possibilities--postal ballot and internet voting--terming them fraught with the dan ger of manipulation.
After the Centre conveyed its acceptance of the EC recommendations on NRI voting, a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri gave the Centre eight weeks to effect necessary amendments in the law to implement the EC suggestion.
NCP had proposed postal ballot for NRIs while BJP, BSP and CPI had opined that postal ballot might not be a vi able option for NRIs. Congress was not in favour of e-postal ballot for NRIs.
Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner Shamsheer V P, pushed another plea-voting rights for migrant labourers who constitute nearly 30% of the population and facilities to enable armed forces personnel posted in remote and border areas to vote. The Election Commission examined several suggestions to enable NRIs to cast their vote and rejected the idea of allowing them to cast their votes at diplomatic missions abroad. “The committee is also of the view that internet voting is also not a feasible option until appropriate technologyinformation technology applications and all other vulnerabilities are addressed,” the EC said.
Postal ballot was also ruled out. An EC committee said, “E-postal ballot can be considered to be employed after proofing, validation of the process and pilot implementation in 1 or 2 constituencies in elections to the legislative assemblies and then scale up to more as sembly polls and finally parliamentary elections if found feasible, practicable and meeting the objectives of free and fair election.“
“The committee recommends that the option of voting through proxy appointed by the overseas electors can be considered to be provided to NRIs. In order to cater to needs of all categories of NRIs, additional options of e-postal ballot and proxy voting can be made available depending upon the preference exercised by the voter. In case voter does not exercise any of these additional options, then by default it will be deemed that overseas elector will cast his vote as per existing laws and procedures at the polling station in India.“

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