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Bill to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians introduced in Lok Sabha

According to the draft bill, they would now be allowed to use the option of proxy, which till now was only available to service personnel

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Parliament
Parliament

A bill seeking to extend the facility of 'voting' to overseas Indians, on the lines of service voters, was introduced in the today. The also seeks to make the law gender neutral by replacing the term 'wife' with 'spouse' to benefit service voters. According to the provisions of 'Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017' introduced by in the Lower House, overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, can now appoint a voter to cast their votes. As of now, overseas Indians were free to cast their votes in the constituencies where they were registered.

But, according to the draft bill, they would now be allowed to use the option of proxy, which till now was only available to service personnel. An expert committee of the Commission working on the issue had in 2015 forwarded the legal framework to the to amend the electoral laws to allow overseas Indians use voting. Unofficial data with shows that only 10,000 to 12,000 overseas voters have exercised their franchise because they do not want to spend foreign currency to come to and vote. The bill said the necessary provision of coming to to cast ballot caused "hardship" to overseas electors. Another provision in the amendment bill relates to spouses of service voters. As of now, an armyman's wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer's husband is not, according to the provisions in the But the draft bill proposes to replace the term 'wife' with 'spouse', thus making the provision gender neutral. Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside are eligible to be enrolled as service voters. The wife of a service voter, if she is residing with him, is also entitled to be enrolled as a service voter in the constituency specified by that person. But children and other relatives residing with a service voter cannot be enrolled as service voters, according to website.

First Published: Mon, December 18 2017. 16:00 IST
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