SC notice to Centre, EC on online voting for NRIs

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s response on a PIL filed by a group of non-resident indians (NRIs) seeking permission to those living outside the country to vote online or through postal ballot in elections.

A three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notice to the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) on the petition filed by Nagender Chindam, Shaker Gaud Ceeka Chandra and Alpeshkumar Patel, all the three currently living in the United Kingdom.

The petition, filed on behalf of NRIs by advocate Urmila Sirur, pointed out the citizens living outside the country were allowed to get themselves registered in the electoral rolls following amendment in the Representation of People Act, 1950, brought in 2010.

However, in order to cast their votes, they were required to be present physically during the voting in their constituency. By not providing the online or postal ballot right to eight million Indian citizens residing outside the country, the whole intent and purpose of allowing them to get themselves registered as voters was of no consequence and was only a paper right given to them, it said.

“It is further relevant here that although the law today entitles the non-residents to register themselves in the electoral list, yet millions of citizens who are unable to return to India for polls, including students, are therefore denied their right to vote,” the petition contended.

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