Voting Rights of an NRI

A Non-Resident Indian is an Indian citizen who has migrated to another country, a person of Indian origin who is born outside India, or a person of Indian origin who resides permanently outside India. Other terms with the same meaning are overseas Indian and expatriate Indian.

In common usage, this often includes Indian-born individuals (and also people of other nations with Indian ancestry) who have taken the citizenship of other countries.

If you are wondering about the processes involved, here is a list of things that you will need to keep in mind for the process of enrolling as an NRI voter:

Who is eligible to be registered as a voter?

Every Indian citizen who has attained the age of 18 years on the qualifying date i.e. first of January of the year of revision of electoral roll, unless otherwise disqualified, is eligible to be registered as a voter in the roll of the part/polling area of the constituency where he is ordinarily resident.

Can a non-resident Indian citizen become a voter?

Yes, according to the provisions of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, a person who is a citizen of India and who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country and is otherwise eligible to be registered as a voter and who is absenting from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to his employment, education or otherwise is eligible to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.

Can one be enrolled at more than one place?

No. A person cannot be enrolled as a voter in more than one place in view of the provisions contained under Section 17 and 18 of R.P.Act, 1950. Likewise, no person can be enrolled as an elector more than once in any electoral roll.

How can an overseas Indian get registered/enrolled in the Electoral Roll?

He/she has to file the application for the purpose in prescribed Form 6A before the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of the constituency within which the place of ordinary residence of the applicant in India as given in his/her valid passport falls. The application can be presented in person before the ERO or sent by post addressed to the ERO concerned. If the application is sent by post it must be accompanied by copy of the passport and all relevant documents mentioned in Form 6Aduly attested by an officer of the Indian Mission in the country concerned.

From where Form 6A can be obtained?

It can be downloaded from the website of Election Commission of India. Form 6A is also available free of cost in Indian Missions in foreign countries and in the offices of EROs in India.

From where the postal address of the ERO concerned can be obtained?
Postal addresses of all EROs are available on the website of Election Commission of India. They can also be obtained from Indian Missions in Foreign countries.

What documents are required to be enclosed with Form 6 A?

One recent passport size coloured photograph, Photocopy of relevant pages of the passport of the applicant containing his/her photograph and all other particulars and photocopy of the pages of passport containing the valid visa.

What other formalities are required to be fulfilled at the time of filing claim application?

If, the application is sent by post, the photo-copy of the documents referred to in the answer to question 7 above should be got duly attested by the competent official in the Indian Mission. If the application is submitted in person before the ERO, the original passport should be produced for verification.

Where can the list of claims and objections be seen?

It can be seen on the website of the CEO of the State concerned. It also can be seen on the notice board of the ERO.

Is personal appearance of applicant or hearing parties necessary? If yes, how will the hearing be conducted?

Normally personal appearance or hearing is not necessary. If all necessary documents duly attested by an officer of the Indian Mission are enclosed with the application, the ERO can include the name in the Electoral Roll after the statutory notice period of seven days is over. Application in form 6A can be sent by post. However if an applicant wishes to submit his application in person to the ERO, he can do so along with the original passport, which shall be returned to him after due verification and attestation of the documents by the ERO. In such a case attestation of documents by an officer of the Indian Mission is not needed. In case there is an objection to the claim of inclusion of name, the ERO may designate an officer from the Mission concerned to hear the parties who will send a report to the ERO for final disposal.

Who is competent to verify claim applications and objections?

The ERO is the competent authority to verify claim applications and the accompanying documents and also consider objections, if any.

How will an overseas Indian know that his/her name is included in the electoral roll?

The decision of the ERO will be communicated to the applicant by post on his address in the foreign country given by him in form 6A and also by SMS on the mobile number given by him in form 6A. Electoral Rolls are also available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer of the State concerned in PDF format and can be seen by anybody.

Where are names of overseas electors included in the electoral roll?

Names of overseas electors are included in the relevant part of the electoral roll of the constituency where his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located. Within that the relevant part a separate section for “Overseas Electors” is created in the roll and names of overseas electors are kept in this section.

How can corrections be made if there are some mistakes in the entries in the electoral roll pertaining to overseas electors?

For correction of mistakes in Electoral Rolls, an application in Form-8 is to be submitted to the ERO concerned.

Can anybody object to the inclusion of names in electoral rolls?

Any person who is a voter in the concerned constituency may object to the inclusion of names in electoral roll on the ground that the person whose names is included or is proposed to be included is not eligible to be registered as a voter in that constituency. An objection can be made in Form 7 to the concerned ERO along with the relevant proof.

Whether ERO is to be informed of the change in current residential address of the overseas electors in the country of his/her residence?

Yes. It is the responsibility of the overseas elector to keep the ERO informed of the change in residential address in the country of his/her residence.

Whether ERO is to be informed when the overseas elector returns to India and becomes ordinarily resident in India?

Yes. In such a case the person can then be registered as a general elector at the place where he is ordinarily resident in India.

How can an overseas elector whose name is enrolled in the electoral roll exercise his/her franchise?

After enrolment, an overseas elector will be able to cast his vote in an election in the Constituency, in person, at the polling station provided for the part where he is registered as an overseas elector.


About Haja

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