The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and Election Commission on a petition seeking direction to the Centre to allow Non-Residents Indians (NRI) online voting or vote by special ballot.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir sought the government response on a petition filed by NRIs residing in United Kingdom, raising important constitutional issue of right to vote guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution for those citizens who are residing outside India and cannot come to their constitutency to vote due to compulsions.
According to the petitioners though the Representation of the People’s Act was amended in 2010 permitting Indian citizens, not living in their constituencies owing to his employment or education outside India, to get themselves registered under the electoral roll, the voters aren’t allowed to vote in absentia through online or special ballot. They are required to be physically present at the time of the election in their constituency.
"It is submitted that more than eight million Indians presently reside outside their home country. It is further relevant that although the law Friday 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 innumerable students – are therefore denied their right," the petitioners said.