The Kerala Non-Resident Indians' Commission on Friday passed a resolution to request the Centre and Election Commission (EC) to make appropriate amendments in the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, to ensure voting rights to the non-resident Indians working abroad. As per the People’s Representation Act, 1951, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) can vote by proxy.
The Commission which is a statutory body is constituted for the welfare of Non-Resident Keralites working outside India. The Centre had introduced a bill for this purpose which was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2018, but the same has since lapsed.
For that reason, Kerala NRI Commission decided to request the Centre for introducing the bill in the next session of Parliament considering the larger interest of the NRI community.
The resolution was moved by Shamsheer Vayalli, a commission member and NRI entrepreneur. He is also a petitioner in the writ petition filed in the Apex Court.
The resolution reads, "The central government may consider introducing the bill in the next session of the Parliament session considering the interest of the NRI community at large."
The resolution will now be sent to the Ministry of Law and the Election Commission (EC).
The Chairperson of the commission Justice PD Rajan said that the right to vote for NRIs is a genuine demand.
He stated, "This is the time that we step up pressure on the agencies concerned to implement this. Voting from the workplace would be a different experience for them. It would be a decisive step."
A petition was filed in the Apex Court last week and will be heard by a bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta in April
Vayalli pronounced, "We are expecting a favourable decision from the Supreme Court. We would also approach the NRI commission in other states and request them to raise the same demand".
As per the Ministry of External Affairs, there are about 3.10 crore NRIs around the world. If the resolution is implemented it would be able to exercise their franchise in the electoral processes of the nation.
(Image source: PTI)