New Delhi: A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court to give voting rights to non-resident Indians (NRIs). The court has now sought responses from the Central government and the Election Commission on this petition. The petition has been filed by the Kerala Migrant Association. A bench of Chief Justice (CJI) NV Ramana, Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Hima Kohli took note of a PIL filed by the Kerala Pravasi Association, seeking that NRIs be given the right to vote.
The Supreme Court issued notices on this and ordered the PIL to be attached with the pending petitions on the issue. In April this year, the Election Commission said that it is considering introducing an electronically transmitted postal ballot system (ETBPS) facility for foreign voters. A delegation led by the then Chief Election Commissioner of India Sushil Chandra visited South Africa and Mauritius from April 9-19. During this time many meetings were held.
According to official estimates, at least 60-65 per cent of the 12.6 million people living abroad are likely to be eligible to vote in the elections. A large chunk of registered voters is mostly from Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. A small population of registered voters is also from Gujarat and Punjab.