Muscat: Indian expats in Oman and elsewhere can now appoint proxies to cast votes on their behalf in elections, after a government passed bill was passed.
Union law minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the ‘Representation of People’s Act (Amendment) Bill 2017, that tweaks section 60 of the law to allow overseas Indians to be able to exercise their franchise.
Indian expats were previously required to fly to their constituencies in order to cast their vote, although only few did due to the cost of flying back to India, with work schedules making it even more difficult.
The bill that the central government introduced said that this arrangement caused “hardship” to the overseas voters, adding that a proxy voting system was needed.
In the past, the proxy voting system was available only to army personnel and their wives, if both were not posted in their own constituencies.
This bill also seeks to make the language used in the law gender-neutral, by replacing the word, wife with spouse. This would allow husbands of servicewomen to cast their ballot through proxies, which was not the case prior.