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India mulls legislation to give NRIs voting rights

India mulls legislation to give NRIs voting rights
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India Mulls Legislation To Give NRIs Voting Rights. The central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was on the course of making a law...

New Delhi: The central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was on the course of making a law to permit NRIs the right to exercise their vote from wherever they are located by e-voting instead of flying back to India to vote at the time of elections.

Additional Solicitor General P.S.Narsimha told a bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra that they needed time as the government has already embarked on the course to make law paving way for NRIs to exercise their vote from wherever they are located.

He said that a cabinet note has been circulated to the concerned department inviting their comments.

However, the issue of granting similar voting rights to migrant workers within the country appears to have run into rough weather with Election Commission resisting it on grounds including that of logistics.

As the government said that it was on the course of amending the law, the court adjourned the hearing by eight weeks.

The court was told of the steps being taken by the government in the course of the hearing of pleas by the petitioners Nagender Chindam, Naresh Kumar Hanchate and Shamsheer V.P.

Seeking to expititethe entire matter, senior counsel Dushyant Dave appearing for the petitioners said that 20 percent of the voters from Kerala are NRIs and their contribution to the national economy was immense.

"NRIs from Kerala contributes so much for India," he said.

The apex court on January 12 had asked the central government to take steps for the implementation of e-voting by the NRIs as the government then had told the court that it has accepted the recommendation by the Election Commission to allow NRIs to exercise their vote from where ever they are located.

The 12-member Committee for Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting by Overseas Electors, set up by the poll panel, had recommended that NRIs staying overseas could be permitted to cast their vote electronically or by proxy.

It had however rejected the feasibility of NRIs exercising their franchise at the diplomatic missions.

The committee had also did not favour internet voting till appropriate technology/IT applications and all other vulnerabilities are addressed.

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