15 May 2006 # IANS
New Delhi: A bill to extend voting rights to non-resident Indians (NRIs) has been referred to the parliamentary panel for examination, Law and Justice H.R. Bhardwaj told the Rajya Sabha Monday.
Bharadwaj told the upper house of parliament that the new bill sought to confer voting rights to Indian citizens who are away from their place of ordinary residence in India for employment, education or otherwise.
"The bill has been referred to the department-related parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice for examination and report," he told the house in a written reply.
Voting rights for NRIs were promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during India's annual conclave to connect with its diaspora – the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas – in Hyderabad in January.
The prime minister had said the demand for such rights had a "convincing political basis" and assured the delegates that his government would take appropriate measures in this regard.
The union cabinet later approved the tabling of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2006 in both houses.