Current Affairs

Lok Sabha passes Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Lok Sabha has passed Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by voice vote to extend the facility of 'proxy voting' to overseas Indians, on the lines of service voters.
Lok Sabha passes Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2017
  • The Bill seeks to amend Representation of People Act (RPA), 1950 and Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951 to allow for proxy voting and make certain provisions of these Acts gender-neutral.

About the RPA:

  • RPA, 1950 provides for allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections (state assembly and Lok Sabha elections), qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rolls.
  • It permits registration of persons in electoral rolls who are ordinarily resident in the constituency.
  • These persons include persons holding service qualification (such as members of armed forces, members of armed police force of state, serving outside state or central government employees posted outside India and persons holding certain offices in India) declared by President in consultation with Election Commission.
  • Under it wives of such persons are also deemed to be ordinarily residing in India.
  • RPA, 1951 provides for conduct of elections and offences and disputes related to elections.
  • It permits an overseas voter to vote only in person.
  • In this case overseas voter is a citizen of India who is absent from his place of ordinary residence in India.
  • Currently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy.

About the Bill:

  • The Bill replaces the term 'wife' with 'spouse' in both Acts.
  • It replaces wife with spouse of a person holding service qualification to vote.
  • It amends RPA, 1951 to permit overseas voter to cast their vote in person or by proxy in constituency where elections are being conducted.

Why is this important?

  • According to rough estimates, there are about 1 crore Indians settled abroad, of which 60 lakh may be within eligible voting age.
  • By granting them proxy voting rights, overseas Indians will be able to exercise the franchise during elections and also need not to spend foreign currency to come to India during elections.
  • Moreover, this decision will also enable overseas Indians to considerably sway in election results, especially in states such as Punjab, Kerala and Gujarat where a number of expats hail from.

Question:

Q. In order to extend which facility to overseas Indians, on the lines of service voters, the Lok Sabha has passed Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017?
a. Priority Voting
b. Preferential Voting
c. Proxy Voting
d. None of the above
Lok Sabha passes Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2017 Lok Sabha passes Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2017 Reviewed by Inderjeet Virdi on August 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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