Voting rights for Indian Citizens Outside of India - 11/04/2011

Hon’ble Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji
Prime Minister of India
7 Race Cource,
New Delhi.
11 April 2011

Dear Respected Prime Minister,

Voting rights for Indian Citizens Outside of India

As a former NRI, I would firstly like to thank the Union Government for enabling the voting rights of some Indian citizens resident overseas.

I would also request that the law be further revised in 2 key aspects:

1. Address in Indian Passport

The new right applies only to persons who have recently migrated from India and who have not renewed their Indian Passport overseas. The current statute restricts voting rights only to those whose passport details their address in India.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of Indian citizens overseas who as NRIs have renewed their passports overseas and whose passports now details their overseas address. These persons, therefore, do not have voting rights for Indian elections.

You are requested to amend the statute to allow all Indian citizens resident overseas to be registered to vote at the last Indian address that features in either their current passport or in their last passport issued within India.

2. Attestation of documents at an overseas Indian Mission

The requirement that all documents required to be submitted with Form 6A be attested at the Indian Mission overseas is onerous, especially in large countries like Canada and America where the nearest Indian mission may be far away and often requires travel by air.

This requirement needs to be reviewed. Possible alternatives are :

i) to allow attestation by local professionals, like lawyers and accountants.

ii) to allow such documents to be submitted by post to the Indian Mission.

The test of the new statute is how many Indian Citizens abroad actually end up voting in our future elections. Therefore, I trust that our Union Government will review the current legislation at the earliest.

Kind regards,

Jassi Khangura, MLA

Halqa Qila Raipur

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