SC asks Centre to decide on statutory regime for NRI voting

New Delhi, July 15 The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Central government to take a call whether it wanted to amend the Representation of People Act or its Rules to decide on the modalities of NRI voting in elections from their overseas locations.

Giving the government “one further opportunity” to decide on the modalities of NRI voting and how it would be done, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud asked it to come back to the court with its response on July 21.

“What are you doing, amending the Act or the Rules. Do whatever you want to do…,” the bench told the government.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that modalities of NRI voting can be done by amending the Rules and would not require amending the law.

The bench noted that by amending the Section 20 and 20 (A) of the Representation of People Act the government has, in principle, accepted the NRI right to vote. It was also noted that government has in principle agreed with the report on the modalities of NRI voting prepared by the Election Commission after talking to various stakeholders including political parties and the NRIs.

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