Due to delay in framing rules, they have just two weeks to apply for enrolment

A large number of Non-Resident Indians from Kerala are unlikely to get a chance to enrol themselves in the voters' list before the Assembly elections on April 13.

Though the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was passed by Parliament, there has been a delay in framing rules for enrolling NRIs in the voters' list.

NRIs hailing from the State will get barely two weeks to apply for enrolment.

As per the rules, voters can enrol till the last date fixed for filing nomination papers, on March 26.

Official sources told The Hindu here that for all practical reasons, only the names of those submitting applications till March 16 would be included in the list.

Since NRIs have been allowed to submit passports, certified by Indian consulates, as proof for enrolment, the election registration officers have been saved of a huge task of verifying the applicants' credentials. Otherwise, the applications received at the embassies would have to be despatched to the Chief Electoral Officers and from there to the Electoral Registration Officers in all the 63 taluks in the State for verification.

However, other conditions set for enrolment have not been waived for NRIs, the most significant being the notice period of a week. After enrolment, the electoral roll will be published for a week. This notice is being given for registering complaints or objections against the enrolment of a person. This norm is significant in the case of NRIs. If a person accused of subversive activities or Foreign Exchange Regulation Act manages to get his name enrolled in the list, it can be removed only by publishing the draft voters list. This means, the applications submitted after March 16 will not be entertained.

With hardly a fortnight left for enrolment, majority of the NRIs are unlikely to avail themselves of the facility. Even after enrolment, they are unlikely to fly down exclusively to exercise their voting right. Those who are on vacation in the State could hope to participate in the polling process. Others would use the card issued by the Election Department as a basic document for securing certificates and other services from the government departments, the sources said.