Cabinet clears draft Bill for linking Aadhaar & voter ID

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved some key electoral reforms. These reforms will be reflected in amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

What are the key electoral reforms approved by the Cabinet?
Linking Aadhaar with electoral roll

Linking of the Aadhaar Card with the Voter ID will be allowed on a voluntary basis. This will help remove duplication and strengthen the sanctity of the electoral rolls. 

Moreover, this is being done in accordance with the Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgement and a test of proportionality

Note: In 2015, EC had launched the National Electoral Law Purification and Authentication Programme to link Aadhaar with the Voter ID. But this initiative was halted following the Supreme Court’s directive that using Aadhaar would not be mandatory to avail of welfare schemes.

Voting by Special Procedure Gender Neutral

Currently, an Army man’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman Army officer’s husband is not allowed.

Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act refers to such a wife being ordinarily residing with that person for allowing enrolment as a service voter. The Act will now be amended to replace the word “wife” with “spouse”.

Increasing the attempts to register in the electoral rolls

From January 1, 2022, those voters turning 18 will have the opportunity to register at four different times of the year, each with different cut-off dates. Under the current law, they may only do this once a year.

Expanding Powers of EC during Elections

The Election Commission will have all the powers required to take over any premises for the conduct of elections. This will expand the EC’s powers beyond polling stations and the storage of ballot boxes.

Source: This post is based on the following articles

– “Linking Aadhaar with voter ID among poll reforms cleared by Cabinetpublished in Indian Express on 16th Dec 2021.

– “Cabinet clears draft Bill for linking Aadhaar & voter IDpublished in TOI on 16th Dec 2021.

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