About Proxy Voting by NRIs

  • The Lok Sabha passed a Bill that proposes to allow the non-resident Indians to use proxies to cast votes on their behalf in Indian elections.
  • In fact, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, in the year of 2017, proposes to amend Section 60 and also extend the facility of proxy voting to Indian voters living abroad.

What is Proxy Voting?

  • Overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, could now appoint a proxy voter to cast their votes. 
  • Under the proxy voting, the registered elector can delegate his voting power to the representative
Need for Proxy voting for NRIs
  • Well, as of now, the overseas Indians were free to cast their votes in the constituencies where they were registered. And, this causes hardship to the overseas electors in the exercising their franchise by being present in our India on the day of polling.
  • But, by granting them proxy voting rights, they will be able to exercise the franchise during the elections and also need not spend foreign currency to come to India during the elections.
  • It will also enable overseas Indian to considerably influence the election results.
  • It would allow the NRIs to remain connected with the country.
Arguments Against Proxy Voting:
  • It violates the principle of ‘secrecy of voting’ and ‘free and fair elections’
  • In fact, the Bill violated many provisions of Constitution which include Article 19
  • Moreover, it is against the level-playing field as the regional parties will not have the wherewithal to campaign in foreign countries.
  • Former election commissioners to have expressed apprehensions in the past about proxy voting for NRIs

Who are NRIs?

  • The NRIs stands for Non-resident of Indian and are that person of Indian origin (NRI-PIO), are people of Indian birth, descent, or origin who live outside the Republic of India.
  • But, according to the Ministry of External Affairs report, there are approx. 31.2 million people of Indian ancestry or the origin residing outside India.

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