On November 8, 2017, the Central Government of India informed the Supreme Court of India that it proposes to grant “proxy voting” rights to Non-Residential Indians (NRIs) by amending the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, the law dealing with the conduct of elections in India. The Government intends to introduce a Bill regarding the same before the Parliament during its Winter Session. The Supreme Court has given the Government a deadline of 12 weeks to carry out its intention.
On July 21, 2017, the Supreme Court had directed the Government to determine the manner in which it intended to enable Indians abroad to vote during elections in India, without them having to travel to India to cast their vote. Subsequently, in August 2017, the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to grant proxy voting rights to NRIs.
If the proposal is passed by the Parliament, over 16 million NRIs would be able to vote during elections in India by appointing a nominee residing in their constituency who would cast a vote on their behalf.
Isha Kalwant Singh, Legal Intern
(Keywords: Proxy voting rights, Nominee, NRI, Elections, Amendment)