Can NRI Contest Elections in India?

can nri contest elections in india


According to the Election Commission of India, the prerequisites for contesting an election are as follows –

  • The individual should be a citizen of India
  • The individual should be registered as a voter
  • Should be over the age of 25 years for Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly elections and 30 years for Rajya Sabha Elections

As of 2011, the government of India provided rules that allow non-resident Indians that fulfill certain criteria, the ability to vote.  Through extension the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules, 2011 also allow NRIs to stand for elections.

The primary criterion under the amended rules is that NRIs should be holding their Indian passports and they should not have applied for or acquired citizenship of any other country and also satisfy the regional electoral officer as per the address provided in the passport shall be registered to vote and in turn contest elections. It is necessary however from general parlance that such an NRI should be residing in India during these elections and to contest them so as to garner maximum votes through polling and promotions amongst the masses.

Prior to such an amendment, no individual was allowed to vote if that person remains outside of the country for a period of six months.

The remaining prerequisites are that in order to stand for the elections every candidate has to make deposits amounting to –

  • 10,000/- for Lok Sabha elections and;
  • 5000/- for Rajya Sabha/Vidhaan Sabha

The only exceptions to these being candidates from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, they pay half the aforementioned amounts. In case a candidate receives more than 1/6th of the total number of valid votes that are polle in the constituency the amount stands returned. The formalities for the same are carried out by Returning Officers that are appointed by the Election Commission and are put in charge for taking care of all the other aspects of the election.

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