A solution to this problem was devised about a decade ago, which was voting through postal ballot. Section 192A of the Companies Act, 1956 provides that listed companies are required mandatorily to obtain resolution of shareholders through postal ballots on certain matters, and optionally on other matters. However, this has failed to achieve the intended result.
It has now been proposed, as reports (here and here) suggest, that online voting be introduced. There would be no legal or regulatory hurdle to begin with as the explanation to Section 192A states: “For the purposes of this section, "postal ballot" includes voting by electronic mode.” Hence, it is a question of prescribing the appropriate mechanism for electronic voting, which is an exercise reportedly being undertaken by the depositories.
Although it would be difficult to estimate the true extent of change that this proposal would usher in, it is certainly a move in the right direction. Electronic voting may motivate more shareholders (including individuals) to exercise their corporate democratic right with greater convenience, and this may signal greater acceptance of shareholder activism in the Indian context by addressing the collective action problems (at least partially).