Lok Sabha passes Bill to link electoral rolls with Aadhaar

What is the news?

Lok Sabha has passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021.The Bill seeks to amend certain sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951.

What are the key provisions of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021?

Linking Aadhaar Card to Voter ID: The Bill allows electoral registration officers to seek Aadhaar number of people who want to register as voters for the purpose of establishing the identity.

Further, it also seeks to allow the electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar number from persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of a) authentication of entries in electoral roll and b) to identify registration of name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency.

Allowed to furnish other documents: No application for inclusion of name in the electoral roll shall be denied and no entries in the electoral roll shall be deleted for inability of an individual to furnish Aadhaar number. Such people will be allowed to furnish other alternative documents as may be prescribed.

Four Qualifying Dates to Register as Voters: The Bill allows four “qualifying” dates (1st day of January, 1st day of April, 1st day of July and 1st day of October in a calendar year) for eligible people to register as voters.

As of now, January 1 of every year is the sole qualifying date. This was causing problems, as people who turn 18 on or before January 1 can register as voters. Those turning 18 after that have to wait for one whole year to register as voters.

Click Here to read other provisions of the Bill
What are the arguments against the Bill?

Firstly, the Bill is beyond the legislative competence of the government. The Aadhaar Act does not allow for the linking of Aadhaar with the electoral roll. It is an act which is for the targeted delivery of financial and other subsidy benefits and services.

Secondly, the linking of voter ID with Aadhaar violates the fundamental right of privacy defined by the Supreme Court in Puttaswamy case.

What are the arguments in support of the Bill?

Firstly, the bill has a provision whereby the person may voluntarily provide an Aadhaar number. No application will be rejected because the Aadhaar number has not been provided.

Secondly, Aadhaar linking with electoral rolls will solve one of the major problems in electoral database management, which is multiple enrolments of the same person at different places.

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

– ‘Lok Sabha passes Bill to link electoral rolls with Aadhaar published in The Hindu on 21st Dec 2021.

– ‘Lok Sabha clears Bill to link voter ID, Aadhaar amid protests’ published in Business Standard on 21st Dec 2021.

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