Govt moves Bill to provide voting rights to NRIs

     Union Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily moved a Representation of People (Amendment) Bill 2010 in the Rajya Sabha on Saturday, which seeks to provide voting rights to Indians living abroad. Moving the bill, Moily explained the details regarding the manner of enrolment of Non Resident Indians (NRIs), the mode of voting and conditionalities for contesting elections. "The fresh Bill is more comprehensive," said Moily, claiming it would enable NRIs to participate in their home country's democratic process, which was their 'legitimate' wish. "The issue had been receiving attention of the government for quite some time, the demand could not be met because of practical difficulties in enrolling them in the electoral rolls and allowing them to cast votes from outside India ," he added. Moily further said the right to vote as demanded by the NRIs was their legitimate right and conferring such rights will enable them to participate in the democratic process. The Government had earlier withdrawn the Bill in 2006, saying it did not have enough information regarding modalities on conferring voting rights to NRIs. "In pursuance of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, it has been decided to withdraw the 2006 bill and introduce a fresh one in the current session of Parliament," said Moily.

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