A parliamentary panel has asked the Election Commission and the government to fast track putting in place a mechanism to ensure that domestic migrants are not deprived of the right to cast vote due to their frequent movement in search of work. As per the existing law, a person can cast his vote in the constituencies where he is registered as a voter. “During the elections they are not able to cast their vote at their place of work or in their constituency as they are constantly on move from one place to another in search of better livelihood,” the standing committee on law and justice lamented in its report which was tabled in Parliament today. Quoting census 2011 and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), it said migrants constitute about 30 per cent of the country’s population and also of the total working force.
“The Economic Survey (2016-17) also noted that annual migration in the country increased to 9.00 million in 2016 from 3.30 million in 2011,” the reported pointed out. Referring to a report prepared by the poll panel, the Legislative Department in the law ministry told the parliamentary committee that the concept of putting in place alternative modes of voting for domestic migrants will work once a fool-proof system for two-way postal ballot is developed. The committee said that voting rights for domestic migrants are as important as for any other citizen and delay on the part of the government or the Election Commission is a “serious issue as it deprives millions of citizens of exercising their democratic right to vote”. The committee said the EC and the Legislative Department should expedite the matter so that domestic migrants are not deprived of their right to vote.