- December 4, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Context: Election Commission (EC) approached the Law Ministry to permit NRIs to cast their votes from overseas through postal ballots.
- According to a UN report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world at 16 million people. Registration of NRI voters, in comparison, has been very low: a little over one lakh overseas Indians registered as voters in India, according to the EC. In last year’s Lok Sabha elections, roughly 25,000 of them flew to India to vote.
- An NRI can vote in the constituency in which her place of residence, as mentioned in the passport, is located. She can only vote in person and will have to produce her passport in original at the polling station for establishing identity.
- Voting rights for NRIs were introduced only in 2011, through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1950.
- According to the EC proposal, any NRI interested in voting through the postal ballot in an election will have to inform the Returning Officer (RO) not later than five days after the notification of the election.
- On receiving such information, the RO will dispatch the ballot paper electronically. The NRI voters will download the ballot paper, mark their preference on the printout and send it back along with a declaration attested by an officer appointed by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where the NRI is resident.
Postal Ballots System
- Ballot papers are distributed electronically to electors and are returned to the election officers via post.
- Currently, only the following voters are allowed to cast their votes through postal ballot:
- Service voters (armed forces, the armed police force of a state and government servants posted abroad),
- Voters on election duty,
- Voters above 80 years of age or Persons with Disabilities (PwD),
- Voters under preventive detention.
- The exception to the above-mentioned category of voters is provided under Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.