Election Commission to Supreme Court: Migrants cannot vote in their native constituency

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Election Commission has informed the Supreme Court that any person who migrates from their native place will stop to be resident of that area and so they cannot cast their vote in that area in the elections. This was done so in a petition that was put before the apex court by VP Shamsheer an NRI at the request of the court.

Although a person owns a house in his native constituency cannot be considered a voter and if he/she migrates then they should register themselves in that area where they stay or reside. EC was opposing a PIL where a direction was sought to commission to make arrangements to all the migrants wherein they could make use of voting right in their native area of residence for the elections. In India nearly 400 million people who move to other states for employment and so they cannot cast their votes from their own native place.

Commission has stated in the affidavit that it filed before the court that provisions in Representation of Peoples Act states that only person who is ordinarily resident can be enrolled to vote and any person who migrates and enrols himself/themselves in that particular area to vote does not arise.

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A person who has migrated from his/her native place has to enrol himself in that area’s electoral roll of their new place of residence, i.e. they should get enrolled in the ordinarily resident place after their migration. The problems of migrants with regard to continue to vote in their native place was being considered by the Election Commission by setting up a committee to study their problems on this matter.

Supreme Court had sought a response to the Election Commission with regard to PIL that was filed before it by NRI, VP Shamsheer who was represented by his advocate Haris Beeran. Previously the plea was in relation to facilitate NRIs to cast online voting from overseas but then later it also raised the issue regarding the migrants voting right in the country. To exercise the right of the citizens EC has taken many steps to educate and promote their right to vote and address their grumbles too.

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by Sushma Javare.