While an NRI holding an Indian passport can cast his/her vote from their respective hometown by registering as an Overseas Voter, they still have to be present in person on the day their constituency goes to polls.
Though many news articles on non-resident Indians finally gaining rights to cast vote online have been doing the rounds on social media, they are far from the truth.
In fact, the Election Commission had to file a police complaint about this, to check further spread of such news and take action against the offenders.Sheyphali Sharan, the official spokesperson of the Election Commission issued a statement on Twitter, saying: “The social media posts informing those who hold an Indian passport, can now vote online, is fake news.”
It has come to our notice that the following FAKE NEWS is circulating on some WhatsApp groups.
It is clarified that you can only apply for voter registration online through https://t.co/oC8AwgyIdK portal pic.twitter.com/OTxjb1zFbA
— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) February 21, 2019
To begin with, there is no provision to vote online in Indian election norms. To exercise the Right to Adult Franchise, one has to personally visit a polling booth. While there are provisions of postal ballots and proxy voting, they are available only for government or armed forces personnel.
While an NRI holding an Indian passport can cast his/her vote from their respective hometown by registering as an Overseas Voter, they still have to be present in person on the day their constituency goes to polls. Also, those registering as overseas voters must fill Form 6A.
Now, considering there are around 3.1 crore NRIs settled in various countries across the globe, a special committee of the Election Commission gave approval for proxy voting. To facilitate this during the upcoming polls, The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was also passed in the Lok Sabha some time ago. However, it didn’t get passed in the Rajya Sabha and lapsed eventually.
The NRIs have nonetheless been pretty upset about it. They have questioned time and again, why despite being an I-T power, India cannot extend this basic right to them.It may be so, that the dismayed lot bought the fake news on them getting online voting rights this year so easily because that is something they have been eagerly looking forward to.