Announce decision on NRI vote issue by July 21: SC to Indian govt

If the Supreme Court of India has its way, Non-resident Indians (NRIs) may be able to cast their vote soon as the apex court recently asked the Union government to take a decision within a week to give voting rights to NRIs, either by amending Representation of the People Act or the rules.

Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court of India. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia

A bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud noted that the Election Commission had set up a committee which had examined the issue and submitted a report in October 2014. It was informed that in January 2015, the Centre had, in principle, agreed with the recommendations of the committee.

"The only question, that arises for consideration now is whether the Union of India needs to accept the proposals made in the October 2014 Report, which has already been accepted in principle, by way of an amendment of Sections 20 and 20A of the RP Act or alternatively, by a mere amendment to the Rules," it said. The bench noted the EC’s extensive efforts and studies on the issue.

"On the instant aspect, the Union of India had sought time on November 18, 2016. Further time is again being sought. We afford further opportunity to the Union of India to take a final decision, whether the proposals already accepted by it need to be implemented by way of amending RP Act or the Rules framed thereunder," the bench said.

"The decision rendered by the government will be brought to the notice of this court on July 21,” the bench told additional solicitor general Atmaram Nadkarni.