SC: NRIs voting via Internet may open Pandora’s box

It issued fresh notices and asked the Centre and the EC to file counter affidavits within a month and posted the matter for hearing at the end of August.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:April 12, 2014 1:32 am

THE Supreme Court Friday refrained from allowing NRIs to vote through postal ballot or Internet for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, saying this may open a “Pandora’s box” while the electoral process was on.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Vikramajit Sen accepted the arguments by the Election Commission that grant of any interim relief at this stage would create problems since the polls had already taken place in 104 Lok Sabha seats, spreading over 20 states and UTs.

The bench said passing any interim order on postal ballot or Internet voting might give rise to “practical difficulties”, but agreed to consider the issue at length to ensure NRIs get to vote more efficaciously.

It issued fresh notices and asked the Centre and the EC to file counter affidavits within a month and posted the matter for hearing at the end of August.

The bench also asked the Commission to place before it the report of the panel set up by the EC to study “various available options for the purpose of NRI voting”.

“We need some solution… we should enable every citizen to cast their vote… this court should come out with reasonable directions,” it observed and added that the court may consider voting rights for people who had frequent job transfers.

The court had on April 7 asked the EC to explore the possibility of doing something so NRIs may be able to vote through Internet in the coming elections.

The Commission replied that as per provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act, voting shall be given by ballot or voting machines and only a limited class of voters are permitted to vote by either proxy or postal ballot.

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