A bill to provide voting rights to Indians living abroad was introduced in Rajya Sabha today, with the government saying it would enable NRIs to participate in their home country's democratic process, which was their "legitimate" wish.
Moving the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill 2010, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily explained the details regarding the manner of enrolment of NRIs, the mode of voting and conditionalities for contesting elections.
He earlier withdrew the 2006 draft of the same proposed legislation saying he was doing so as it did not have details regarding modalities on conferring voting rights to NRIs.
"The fresh bill is more comprehensive," Moily said.
Pointing out that NRIs have been persistently demanding conferring of voting rights, he said though the issue had been receiving attention of the government for quite some time, the demand could not be met because of practical difficulties in enrolling them in the electoral rolls and allowing them to cast votes from outside India.
He said the right to vote, as demanded by these citizens of India living abroad, is a legitimate one and conferring such rights will enable them to participate in the democratic process.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice examined the 2006 bill and recommended bringing a comprehensive one on the subject containing details regarding the manner of their enrolment, mode of voting and conditionalities for contesting elections.
"In pursuance of the committee's recommendations, it has been decided to withdraw the 2006 bill and introduce a fresh one in the current session of Parliament," Moily said.