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NRIs can vote from abroad: govt. tells SC

The government on Monday informed the Supreme Court of its decision to accept the Election Commission's recommendation to allow Non-Resident Indians to vote from overseas through e-postal ballots or proxy voting.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu gave the government eight weeks' time to inform it about further steps to implement the modalities of the EC recommendations.

The government’s decision to allow NRIs to vote could set the stage for expatriates to emerge as a decisive force in the country’s electoral politics.

This decision also, historically, removes an “unreasonable restriction” posed by Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act of 2010, requiring overseas electors to be physically present in their constituencies to cast their votes. The recommendation came in an October 2014 report prepared by the Commission titled 'Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting by Overseas Electors.' The report was prepared after consultations with political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

The poll body was acting on the orders of the Supreme Court following two separate petitions filed by V.P Shamsheer, a UAE-based doctor, and Nagender Chindam, chairman of Pravasi Bharat in London.

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