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Commentary

E-Voting for Shareholder Resolutions

Piramal Healthcare has sent me an email asking for a vote on a resolution for appointing Ajay and Swati Piramal’s son-in-law as an executive of the company. I’ve got a gazillion different resolutions earlier – for different companies – but usually they send you a postal ballot paper with explanatory notes.

This time, Piramal Healthcare let me vote electronically. They sent me a mail with a user id and password, and an electronic voting number, which I could use at www.evotingindia.com . I also got the resolution copy as a PDF attachment.

Using that and voting was a breeze – log in, change password, write in the number of shares you own in the “YES” or “NO” column, and click submit.

This is so much easier than the drudgery of using post – first they send you a letter (to an address you have forgotten to update with your broker), and if you get the letter, you have to fill it up, and post or courier it back. Which is why most shareholders don’t even bother voting. At least this e-process will make voting easier.

What remains to be seen is – if this gets popular will it get abused (as in people putting proxy votes if they know userids/passwords) and secondly, will people even try to understand resolutions before voting? But then you can’t diagnose a disease until you remove the barricades leading to the hospital.