High Court Dismissed PIL Seeking Permission For NRIs To Caste Vote From Abroad; Karnataka Elections 2023


The Karnataka High Court in the case Ravi M And Union of India & others observed and has stated in a plea filed by one Non-Resident Indian, NRI wherein seeking to grant of voting rights to NRIs from the countries they reside in, during the Karnataka Assembly Elections which is scheduled to be held on May 10, 2023.
The vacation bench headed by Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Vijaykumar A Patil in the case observed and has rejected the petition moved by one Ravi M. The bench accepted the said submission which are made by the Election Commission of India that, the right to vote not being the fundamental right and it is a creature of law. Therefore, unless law shown, which provides for voting, thus, the Right to vote cannot be sought for.
The bench in the case stated that the submissions made by the learned counsel that the right to vote need to be given to NRI runs counter to this long-standing electoral jurisprudence.
The petitioner in the plea stated that the petitioner’s Organization, Sagarotara Kannadigaru, was being founded during the COVID pandemic, the organization was formed in order to bring NRI Kannadigas and the other related institutions at a common place to discuss and address the concerns being raised. Therefore, Sagarottara Kannadigaru is being registered in the UK under Community Interest Company, CIC for representing the overseas Kannadiga’s throughout the world.
Further, it has also been submitted by Ravi that he being a Non-Resident Indian and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a Registered Nurse since 2008 and it has also been requested by the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka for providing the facility of voting from their respective residing countries, which being either by postal voting system or by opening a polling booth in the Indian embassy which being at their respective countries.
Therefore, it has also been submitted by Ravi before the court that he being a valid voter having a valid Election Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India. Thus, around 60 Lac Indians are eligible voters working across the globe in various professions, thus, some are with their families and some of them are studying abroad in the different universities.
It has also been stated that few of the petitioner’s colleagues from Philippines and Italy can vote from their respective residing countries though they are living abroad while the said elections take place in their countries by visiting their embassies in the country in which they are residing.
The plea filed prayed for the directions to the respondents Union of India and Election Commission of India in order to provide voting facility to NRI’s in countries in which they are residing during the Elections.
The counsel, Advocate Rudrappa P appeared for the petitioner.