SC seeks EC's reply on plea seeking voting rights for migrants

Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Election Commission on a plea seeking to enable migrants within the country, including those who have left their constituencies for jobs, to cast their votes from their places of residence.

PTI| Updated: Jan 12, 2015, 23:26 PM IST

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Election Commission on a plea seeking to enable migrants within the country, including those who have left their constituencies for jobs, to cast their votes from their places of residence.

A bench of Justice Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri issued notice to EC on an application that the committee, which looked into the issue of extending voting rights to the NRIs, be asked to consider adopting alternate methods to enable migrants within the country itself to exerecise franchise from their current places of residence.

The application, filed by NRI Shamsheer VP through advocate Haris Beeran, said "it is the submission of the applicant that the true test of democracy is the inclusion of all persons who have a right in political discourse which leads it. True representation would only be made possible if every attempt was made to make every vote count.

"This is seen in countries like Brazil where voting is made mandatory with the defaulter having to pay massive fines. Therefore, it is imperative that true weight is given to the importance of adult suffrage," the plea said.

According to the provisions of the Representation of People Act, when government servants and a class of certain other persons are allowed to vote through postal ballots, then the same right be given to private persons who are forced to leave their respective constituencies for reasons of employment.

"There cannot be discrimination between the citizens on this ground on their right to vote," the plea said.

The plea said that the spike in number of potential voters would be tremendous inasmuch as a large number of persons who have migrated would want to cast their vote if it were made possible.