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Supreme Court gives one week time to Center for taking a decision

15 Juillet 2017

Once e-vote is allowed, NRIs will not have to fly home to vote. Every year you keep saying we will amend we will amend.

The matter is now listed for next Friday, when the Centre will have to inform the Court whether it wants to amend the Act or the Rules. Here, NRIs are pleading for it, ' the court said.

The Supreme Court asked the Centre on Friday to decide within a week whether it would amend the electoral law or rules for allowing Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote through postal or e-ballots in elections here.

"This is a petition of 2014. You said this in 2014, 15, 16 and again. this is not the way your government runs", an angry CJI Khehar told the Central government's counsel.

The bench was also hearing a PIL filed by an NRI seeking such facility. Texas laws have allowed astronauts the right to vote when on a space mission.

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Until now, due to the high cost of travel and time involved, only a minuscule population of NRIs came to India to cast vote.

Earlier, the Election Commission has informed the Centre that it can pull off the process of introducing voting rights for non-resident Indians (NRI) within three months of the law being introduced. "We afford one further opportunity to the UOI to take a final decision, whether the proposals accepted by it need to be implemented by way of an amendment to the provisions of the RP Act or the Rules framed thereunder", the bench said in its order.

In e-voting, a blank postal ballot paper is emailed to the voter, who has to then fill it and mail it by post to their constituency.

The government had on July 8, a year ago told the court that it has "in principle" approved eballot voting for Indian passport holders overseas, recommended by the Election Commission in a report, and it would have the process in place after making necessary amendments to the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, that dealt with elections in the country.

Supreme Court gives one week time to Center for taking a decision