Aadhaar Voter link dispute: Ex bureaucrats ask Court to intervene

Ambika Bhardwaj

Published On: December 30, 2021 at 18:20 IST

Following the Enactment of provisions to the Representation of the People Act during the winter session of Parliament, over 100 retired senior bureaucrats called for “strong Judicial interference” on Wednesday to halt the Centre’s proposals to connect the Voter identity card with Aadhaar.

They called the decision “defective, bad in Law, bad faith, and liability to potential misuse” by the Government.

The Government had tried to push through the provisions despite opposition within and outside Parliament to connecting election identity cards with the Aadhaar ecosystem on the grounds that it was important to clean up the electoral rolls.

“The requirement of Aadhaar verification, even if consensual, from a potential or enrolled voter indicates the superimposition of a government-issued identity card for identification and address confirmation, which could severely impact the independency of the ECI and cast doubts on the fairness of the ensuing election,” the retired civil servants said in an open statement released from the platform of Constitutional Conduct, the collective they formed a couple of years ago.

According to the open statement, Justice B.N. Krishna, who chaired the committee that drafted the Data Protection Bill, has called such linking “the most dangerous scenario.”

The assertion cautioned that the experience of using Aadhaar to clean up database registries of Government programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and Public Distribution System has occurred in mass disentitlement due to arbitrary deletions from the framework without notification.

It argued that the criterion would not help clean up the electoral rolls because Aadhaar cards are issued without proof of identity, raising the potential of non-citizens registering as voters if the UIDAI is used as the only evidence.

Even though the Centre’s Amendments currently state that no application for inclusion of one’s name in the electoral rolls shall be deprived and no entries in the rolls shall be removed due to inability to provide an Aadhaar number, the new Law’s wording allows the Government to make rules that do not require Parliament’s authorization.

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