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Bill allowing proxy voting rights to NRIs tabled in Lok Sabha

A bill seeking to extend the facility of ‘proxy voting’ to overseas Indians, on the lines of service voters, was introduced in the Lok Sabha

india Updated: Dec 18, 2017 18:49 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bill,Lok Sabha,Winter Session
Amid the din from opposition benches on Monday, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the bill in Lok Sabha on Monday.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO Files)

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) who are registered voters in the country could soon exercise their franchise in elections held in India through a proxy while staying abroad as the government introduced a bill in Parliament in this regard on Monday.

Amid the din from opposition benches on Monday, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the bill in Lok Sabha to amend the Representation of the People Act, the law that governs elections in India, to allow proxy voting to overseas Indians.

Under the current rules, overseas electors have to cast votes in person at specified polling booths in their constituencies in India.

“The said rules stipulate the physical presence of the overseas electors in the respective polling station in India on the day of the polling. This causes hardship to overseas electors in exercising their franchise…” said the bill, seeking to amend section 60 of the law, allowing proxy voting.

The bill also proposes to change the word ‘wife’ to ‘spouse’, to make the provision of postal balloting for service voters, gender neutral.

Members of the armed forces, central police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and central government employees posted outside India 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 enlisted as a service voter in the constituency specified by that person.

The proposed change in the law was set in motion after the election commission wrote to the law ministry in August seeking amendments in the law to make the provision gender neutral.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 16:55 IST