The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction for introducing online voting using information and communication technology (ICT).

A vacation Division Bench comprising Justice Ram Mohan Reddy and Justice L. Narayanaswamy passed the order on the petition filed by Ravindranath, chairman of city-based Human Relevant Research Institute.

Arguing his case on his own, Mr. Ravindranath said that voting should be made compulsory and it should be made possible for eligible voters to vote from anywhere in India by introducing an online voting system.

“With the available software technology, online voting system can be installed within 48 to 50 hours. We have the required technology, but nobody wants to use it for this purpose,” the petitioner contended.

As the process of election to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly was at an advanced stage, the petitioner stated that the online system could be incorporated for the elections to the Lok Sabha scheduled to be held next year.

The petitioner pointed out that there was no punishment for voters in India who did not vote and stressed that people should be made to vote compulsorily.

“We can understand your prayer. But in India it is a secret ballot system, and it has to be maintained [even in the online system]… In Australia, if a person doesn’t vote for three successive elections, he/she will be stripped of citizenship,” the Bench observed while adjourning hearing.