Online voting for NRIs under consideration, says Kiren Rijiju

March 26, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - New Delhi

‘Linking Aadhaar with electoral rolls in the works, EVMs should not be doubted’

Allaying concerns:Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju speaking in the Lok Sabha on Friday.PTIPTI

Allaying concerns:Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju speaking in the Lok Sabha on Friday.PTIPTI

The Government of India was exploring the possibility of allowing online voting for non-resident Indians (NRIs) as well as considering linking Aadhaar with the electoral rolls to check fraudulent voting, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Mr. Rijiju also told the House that no questions should be raised about the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and asserted that India’s election system was recognised as “one of the best” in the world.

During the Question Hour, the Minister was responding to a supplementary question posed by Congress member from Kerala K. Muraleedharan about Pravasi Indians or NRIs being given voting rights.

“Sir, this is a very positive suggestion. And I have told the Election Commission that we will make provisions. Give us proper suggestions on how we will allow our people who are staying outside to be given an opportunity to vote. We are also thinking how online voting system can be encouraged or done,” Mr. Rijiju stated.

Talking about steps to prevent fraudulent voting and discrepancy in electoral rolls, he observed, “ Linking Aadhaar with the electoral roll is one of the ways. As of now, linking Aadhaar with electoral rolls is voluntary. Our aim is to ensure ‘one nation, one electoral roll’ to ensure a clean voting process”.

When Congress member Manish Tewari asked whether the source code of the EVMs remained with the manufacturing company or passed on to the Election Commission, the Minister compared it with the process of judicial appointments.

“The judges are appointed by the government, but once they are appointed, they become independent. No one should question the EVMs and there should not be any inference too,” he said.

Mr. Tewari insisted on getting a specific reply to a specific question. Speaker Om Birla intervened to say that the Indian democracy and its electoral process were highly praised the world over.

Voting right issue

The House also witnessed an argument between the Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh.

Answering a question, the Minster said every elector had the right to vote in elections and those in prisons were also encouraged to vote; but there cannot be compulsory voting.

Reacting to this, Mr. Singh said the Minister should be a little more ‘sensitive’ while replying. “When a person is sent in judicial custody, his fundamental rights are seized and voting is a fundamental right,” he explained.

Mr. Rijiju responded, stating that all citizens were equal for the government and, as Law Minister, he cannot say undertrials do not have the voting right. People contest and win elections from jail, he added.

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