New Delhi: In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission (EC) and the Centre directing them to take steps to ensure that NRIs are also able to vote.
The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that it has accepted in letter and spirit the Election Commission's suggestion to extend voting rights to NRIs through postal ballots.
The apex court then granted four weeks time to the Centre to inform what steps it had taken to implement Election Commission's suggestions in this regard.
The apex court passed the order in response to a plea filed by Pravasi Bharat chairman Nagender Chindam seeking voting rights for the NRIs.
"While the government has been providing varied facilities to the Indian diaspora abroad and has thrown open its doors for NRIs to contribute to the economy, fact remains that if these voting rights are allowed, it will give a huge boost to the country on several fronts too," Chindam said while filing his plea.
"We have full faith in our justice system, we are hoping for positive outcome on our case soon," he added.
A committee comprising officials from the EC, Law Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs had taken the opinions from all sections before submitting a report to the apex court last year.
Any move to allow NRIs to use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and e-ballot facility requires changes in the electoral law.
Under the proposal, NRIs will be sent ballot papers electronically and they will have to return it to poll authorities physically.
The case was last heard on November 14 last year.