The Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday that the government intended to introduce a bill during the winter session of Parliament to amend a law to allow NRIs to vote through postal or e-ballots.
The SC had on July 14 asked the Centre to decide whether it would amend the electoral law to allow NRIs to vote by postal or e-ballots after the Election Commission (EC) had also agreed to allow NRIs to caste their vote.
Following the Centre’s submission, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud adjourned hearing on the issue. The EC had said the move to allow NRIs to use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel would necessitate changes in the Representation of the People Act or in the rules made under the Act. The bench sought response from the EC on a petition demanding that every EVM to be used in the Gujarat assembly polls be fitted with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). Petitioner Manubhai Chavada opposed Rule 56(D) (2) of the Conduct of Elections Rules conferring discretionary power on the returning officer to refuse counting of VVPAT.
The petitioner is a BJP functionary Ashwini Upadhyay who sought direction to the Centre not to remove the election commissioners, except in a similar manner and grounds as the CEC. “The element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not exclusively for an individual alone but for the institution,” he said in his petition.