Cutting across party lines, members of Rajya Sabha on Tuesday supported the calling attention notice by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad about the risks involved in giving voting rights to Non-Resident Indians through proxy voting or e-postal ballots. The members also pointed out that government needs to do something about millions of migrant workers who are denied voting rights within the country. Bhupendra Singh, BJP member from Odisha, and NDA leaders like Anil Desai of Shiv Sena and Naresh Gujral of Akali Dal said wider consultation is needed for the proposal of e-ballot for NRIs as it may not be very secure and advised the government not to rush into amending the Representation of People’s Act. They said supremacy of Parliament in framing laws should not be usurped by the Supreme Court.
Law minister Sadanand Gowda said proxy voting will not be done by the NRIs. He pointed out that the Election Commission had held an all-party meeting and a report was prepared. He said it was on the basis of that report that government went ahead. “We know Parliament is supreme. We are not doing this because of the Supreme Court,” he said. Gowda also assured the House that he will request the EC to talk to all political parties on the issue of voting rights to migrant workers.