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Bill granting voting rights to NRIs to come up in Rajya Sabha in upcoming session, govt tells SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Centre Friday informed the that a bill to amend to allow NRIs to vote through postal or has been passed by and is likely to come up in in the upcoming Winter Session.

The government told this to a bench of Justices and which was hearing a batch of petitions filed by Nagender Chindam, of London-based organisation, and other Non Resident Indians (NRIs) including Shamsheer V P.

The petitions have said that 114 countries, including 20 Asian nations, have adopted external voting, which could be held by setting up polling booths at diplomatic missions or through postal, proxy or electronic voting.

A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the bill was likely to be taken up in the in the Winter Session, which is to commence from December 11.

The bench said it would hear the matter in last week of January.

In July last year, K K Venugopal had told the court that NRIs could not be allowed to vote by merely changing the rules made under the Representation of People (RP) Act and a Bill was needed to be introduced in Parliament to amend the Act itself to grant the voting rights.

The court had asked the Centre to decide whether it would amend the or rules to allow NRIs to vote by postal or in the polls in the country, taking note of the fact that the Centre and Election Commission of (ECI) were agreeable to the report of a panel that NRIs might be allowed to vote.

The poll panel had earlier said the move to allow NRIs to use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and facility would require changes either in the RP Act or in the rules made under the Act.

The Centre had said in principle, it was agreeable to the recommendations made in the report prepared by a 12-member committee to explore the feasibility of alternative options for voting by overseas electors.

One of the petitioners had told the court that NRIs could be given the right to vote by making changes in the rules only and there was no need to amend the provisions of the RP Act.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2018. 20:05 IST