The Election Commission (EC) is working with ministries of law and external affairs to implement postal voting. This will allow non-resident Indians (NRIs) the right to vote. The government is planning to implement this scheme soon.
The government is planning to implement postal voting on a pilot basis for NRIs in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Germany, France and South Africa soon. For this, the Election Commission (EC) is working with the ministries of law and external affairs, who have long been demanding voting rights to NRIs.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora met UAE-based entrepreneur Shamshir Vayalil. During this, he said that the government has planned to implement the postal voting rights for NRIs in non-Gulf countries in the first phase. If the government and the Election Commission are in favor of the demand raised by them, NRIs in the Gulf countries will also be able to vote in the upcoming elections in Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry.
Vayyalil said that the Election Commission appreciated this legal battle in which he was also involved. The Election Commission has assured that the issue of NRI voting rights is under the consideration of the Election Commission and the Government. At the same time, a government official says that the Ministry of External Affairs supports the idea of allowing postal voting, but its decision is in the hands of the election watchdog.
SC’s notice on NRI postal voting petition
Last week, the Supreme Court issued a notice on a petition demanding every citizen living outside his parliamentary or assembly constituency to have the right to vote through postal ballot. Issuing notice to the Central Government and the Election Commission, the apex court has sought an answer in four weeks.
The demand for providing rights through e-voting has also been made in this petition. At present, some sections have the right to vote with the postal ballot. Even before this kind of demand has been made many times. The petition filed in the Supreme Court states that “safe remote electronic voting system” should be put in place for citizens to cast their votes. It is also said in the petition that the electoral law needs to be brought in line with modern times and technology.
This demand made in the petition
The petition states that students, NRIs, migrant workers and employees cannot be deprived of their right to vote, as they are physically unable to appear in their respective constituencies. The Supreme Court needs to intervene in the matter due to the need to expand the word ‘postal ballot’. The urge to physically exist violates the right to equality. The petition said that largely disadvantaged people need to be included in voting from outside their constituencies.
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