Linking Aadhaar with voter ID

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Linking Aadhaar with voter ID Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Representation of People Act?
  • Previous attempt to link voter card and Aadhaar number
  • Broad reasons in support of the linkage
  • News Summary: Linking Aadhaar with voter ID
  • What did the EC propose?

Why in news?

  • The Election Commission of India has asked the Union government to change the Representation of the People Act, 1950, and voter registration forms.
  • It wants to remove the requirement for voters to give reasons if they choose not to link their Aadhaar number with their voter ID card.
    • The EC has proposed amending the RP Act, 1950 to remove the requirement of a “sufficient cause” for not providing Aadhaar.
    • It also asked to amend the registration forms that did not give an option to the individual who has an Aadhaar but chooses not to furnish it.

Representation of People Act

  • The Parliament passed two laws to provide a legal framework for the conduct of elections:
    • The Representation of the People Act, 1950,
    • The Representation of the People Act, 1951
  • The 1950 Act provides for
    • allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections,
    • qualifications of voters,
    • preparation of electoral rolls.
  • The 1951 Act regulates the actual conduct of elections and by-elections. It provides for the conduct of elections and offences and disputes related to elections.
    • It also deals with the registration of political parties, the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of the Houses.

Previous attempt to link voter card and Aadhaar number

  • The EC had in 2015 taken up linking of voter card and Aadhaar number as part of its National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme.
    • The aim of the drive was to remove bogus or duplicate entries from the electoral roll.
    • Around 32 crore Aadhaar numbers were seeded at that time.
    • However, this initiative was halted by the Supreme Court in August 2015 via its famous protection of privacy judgement in the Puttaswamy case.
      • This Puttaswamy case had challenged the validity of Aadhar scheme and Aadhar Act, 2016”.
      • In August 2015, the Supreme Court passed an interim order in this case.
      • The order prohibited Aadhaar from being used for any purpose other than the state-facilitated distribution of food grain and cooking fuel such as kerosene and LPG.
  • In 2019, the EC again proposed linking Aadhaar with the electoral roll, asking the government to amend the election laws to enable collecting of Aadhaar details
    • The government then brought the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which was passed by Parliament in December 2021, to enable the linking of Aadhaar and Voter IDs.
    • Under the Act, the EC re-started the collection of Aadhaar numbers from July 2022 on a voluntary basis.
    • A new Form, Form 6B, was introduced for existing electors to give their Aadhaar number and the form for new registrations was amended as well.
  • It was again challenged in Supreme Court.
    • The Form 6B gave only two options — either provide the Aadhaar number or say one does not possess an Aadhaar.
    • This would force those who did not want to give their Aadhaar number into making a false declaration.
    • The petition sought directions to the Election Commission and the government to make amendments so those who don’t want to link their Aadhaar and Voter ID have that option.
    • As a result, EC told the court in September that it would make the clarificatory changes required.

Broad reasons in support of the linkage

  • Improving the accuracy of the electoral rolls, by weeding out duplication and misrepresentation in electoral rolls;
  • Assistance in the ECI’s plans to implement advanced mechanisms such as electronic and internet-based voting;
  • Giving ‘remote’ voting rights to domestic migrants; and
  • To facilitate proxy voting which may require Aadhaar backing for voter verification.

Q1) What did the Supreme Court rule in the Puttaswamy case?

The nine Judge Bench in this case unanimously reaffirmed the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. The Court held that the right to privacy was integral to freedoms guaranteed across fundamental rights, and was an intrinsic aspect of dignity, autonomy and liberty.

Q2) What is voter ID card?

A voter ID card is an identity document issued by the Election Commission of India (EC) to Indian citizens who are 18 or older. It is an essential document required to cast votes in elections.

Source: Linking Aadhaar with voter ID: Why EC wants changes in electoral forms | Zee News | Indian Express