SC refuses PIL seeking voting rights for NRIs



New Delhi: The Supreme Court today made it clear that it will not consider PILs concerning policy matters and declined to entertain a petition seeking voting rights for non-resident Indians (NRIs).

"How can we decide this issue? This is a policy matter," a bench, comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, said.

The court also noted that since the Bill relating to grant of voting rights to NRIs is pending with the government, it would not like to interfere in the matter.

"The Bill is in the offing. We will not interfere at this stage," the bench said, referring to the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2006, which is pending with the Government.

The court said since the Bill is pending, the government will decide whether such rights have to be conferred upon NRIs or not.

Earlier, when advocate Amar Dave, appearing for Qatar-based NRI Ahammed Adyottil, was making a submission on the issue, the bench said "there is a serious implication in this matter".

The court said if the right to vote to NRIs is proposed through statute then why the petition has been filed. When the advocate said that all other countries permit voting rights to such persons, the bench said "our law does not allow".

"It is for government to decide by making law to grant right to vote," it pointed out.

The court allowed the petitioners to withdraw the PIL.

The bench, headed by the CJI, was strict on other PILs which were also relating to policy matters.

It dismissed one such matter in which the petitioner had sought increase in reservation of seats for women in Parliament.

"We cannot increase reservation for women in Parliament. We don't have such powers," the bench said.

It also rejected a plea seeking direction for government to take steps to prevent accidents on roads.

PTI