The Election Commission (EC) submitted before the SC that providing NRIs with the option of e-voting will not be possible due to threats such as viruses, spyware, and malware.
Case before the SC
An NRI had filed a PIL before the SC alleging that the provision requiring NRIs to be physically present in the constituency to exercise their vote was discriminatory and violative of their fundamental rights. It is in regard to this case that the EC made representation before the SC.
The ruling will affect 12,000 NRIs who are registered as voters.
Appointment of a Committee
The EC submitted before the SC that it had appointed a committee to explore possibilities of allowing NRIs to cast their votes from abroad, and also examine other options to make the process of casting their votes much less cumbersome.
Voting through Proxy
The EC said that even though directly voting online or at diplomatic missions was not an option, voting through proxy could definitely be considered for NRIs. The NRI can designate another person from his own constituency to act as his proxy and cast the vote on his behalf. Voting through proxy is currently available to persons in the armed forces and paramilitary forces. This mode of voting can be efficacious and convenient for all parties concerned. Matters of time constraint and logistics will not be a hurdle
E-postal ballot is also an option that the EC is considered. Under this system, a blank postal ballot paper is transferred electronically to the NRIs, which can then be filled and returned by them. This system has almost no risk of manipulation, rigging or violation of secrecy.
The EC proposed trying the system on a pilot basis in one or two constituencies during elections to the Legislative Assemblies. If successful, the ballot system could then be expanded to cover Parliamentary elections and eventually to all constituencies.