Poll panel backs proxy vote for NRIs

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 18, 2014 01:07 IST

Backing demands to simplify voting for non-resident Indians, the Election Commission (EC) has recommended enabling NRIs to vote by proxy and e-postal ballot.

In its report to the Supreme Court, the EC suggested changes to the Representation of the People (RP) Act to allow overseas electors to vote in person, by proxy or e-postal ballot.

The SC had directed EC to study various options on a petition by some NRIs, seeking the court’s intervention. The EC report will have to be accepted by the government before it reaches Parliament.

“The EC recommendation is the first big step forward,” said Shamsheer Vayalil, who led the initiative to knock at the SC’s doors a little over six months ago. “We decided to do something as everyone always spoke about it but no one took the first step,” he added.

The RP Act was amended in 2011 to allow NRIs to be registered as voters but required them to travel to the country during elections to vote. About 10 million Indians stay abroad. Only 13,000, however, registered themselves. In the Lok Sabha elections this year, only 8 cast their votes.

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