Proposal to give proxy voting rights to overseas Indians held back for ‘further study’

Unofficial data with EC shows that only 10,000 to 12,000 overseas voters have exercised their franchise because they do not want to spend foreign currency to come to India and vote.

Published: 07th July 2019 07:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2019 07:10 PM   |  A+A-

EVM, Voting

For representational purposes

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The government is learnt to have withheld its plan to introduce a fresh bill in Parliament to extend the facility of 'proxy voting' to overseas Indians, pending "reconciliation" of varied views on the issue.

A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.

It was passed by the lower house but was pending in Rajya Sabha.

"The proposal will move forward after various views are reconciled," a senior functionary said.

There have been demands from various parties to extend similar facility to domestic migrants who are unable to vote when elections are held in their native places as most cannot afford to travel or miss work.

The Bill proposes that overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, could now appoint a proxy voter to cast their vote.

As of now, overseas Indians were free to cast their votes in the constituencies where they were registered.

The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which till now was only available to service personnel.

According to estimates of Ministry of External Affairs, there are about 3.10 crore NRIs living in different countries across the world.

An expert committee of the Election Commission, working on the issue, had in 2015 forwarded the legal framework to the Law Ministry to amend the electoral laws to allow the overseas Indians to use proxy voting.

Unofficial data with EC shows that only 10,000 to 12,000 overseas voters have exercised their franchise because they do not want to spend foreign currency to come to India and vote.

The bill said the necessary provision of coming to India to cast ballot caused hardship for overseas electors.

Another provision in the amendment bill relates to the spouses of service voters.

As of now, an armyman's wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer's husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law.

The bill proposes to replace the term 'wife' with 'spouse', thus making the provision gender neutral.

Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and the central employees posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp