Friday, April 11, 2014

Not yet ready for (online) purple fingers

The Supremes have decided: no online voting for NRIs 

Still, the issue merits careful attention. We depend on NRIs to keep our economy afloat, politicians are raising huge amount of money in the West, it is only fair that these poor rich people get a way to vote without incurring too much hardship.

And if NRIs are able to vote online what is the big deal in permitting residents to vote online too?

Hopes of NRIs of casting votes in the ongoing elections through the internet were dashed on Friday with the Supreme Court saying any interim relief at this stage may open a Pandora's box.

 The court took into consideration the Election Commission's submission that grant of interim relief at this stage would be beyond the scope and relief claimed by the petitioners when voting has already taken place for 104 LS seats. "Will it not open a Pandora's box? If some consideration is given, practical difficulty will arise," the apex court said. 

Here is the backstory
The Election Commission (EC) informed the Supreme Court Monday that it was exploring the means of enabling Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote online but expressed its inability to facilitate voting in foreign locations or provide any other alternative for the upcoming general elections.

The Bench, however, asked the EC to try its best to do something in this election. “You still have some time left” said the Bench, asking the EC whether around 12,000 NRIs, who are registered NRI voters, could be allowed to use their franchise through postal ballot in this election.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NRI, Shamsheer VP, who contended that the existing provision which mandates NRI voter to be physically present in the constituency to exercise his vote was discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights.

While the Court did not address the matter there is also the tricky question of migrants voting. It seems reasonable that they would be incentivized to vote, especially in such a crucial election. Our (controversial) suggestion is to give these folks citizenship and bring them out of the shadows (of the shadow economy).  

If the BJP feels aggrieved that there are too many muslims from Bangladesh, they should arrange for re-balancing (on the backs of Tibetans, Pak-Hindus, and Bangla-Hindus). Just like the USA first amendment debates (speech must be countered by more speech), votes should be countered by more votes!!!


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