Indian expatriates granted the right to vote

Published:  15 Jan at 9 AM
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Tagged: Citizenship, India
The Indian government has told the country’s Supreme Court that it has accepted a proposal to allow Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote in polls via e-post ballot, meaning that Indian expatriates are now likely to become influential in their home country’s politics.

Around 10 million NRI’s will be affected by the ruling, which Abu Dhabi-based Dr Shamsheer Vayalil described as a “big victory”. There are more than five million Indian citizens alone living in Gulf states, with the region likely to become key for some politicians.

The proposal to allow expats to vote was put in front of the court by the Election Commission of India after Dr Viyalil and two others initiated a legal proceeding on their right to vote. The court has now requested that the government inform it of the next steps in putting the e-ballot in place at the earliest possible time.

The Election Commission explained that the e-postal ballot system, which Dr Vayalil had insisted was a viable way for NRIs to vote, would involve blank postal ballots being transferred to Indian expatriates and returned by post once completed. It will be fully implemented after the process has been validated and a pilot scheme in one or two constituencies has taken place.

The commission went on to say that if the initiative proves successful, it could be used for parliamentary elections in the future.
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