Madras HC concerned about BJP illegally accessing Aadhar data for campaigning


Madras High Court took note of a petition seeking a court-monitored probe into the accusation that BJP’s Puducherry unit is illegally accessing Aadhar details for targeted campaigning. The Court has directed the Election Commission to file a detailed report. The President of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, Puducherry, Anand filed the plea stating that Puducherry residents have received group invite links on their WhatsApp numbers for boosting their political mileage.

According to the petitioner, the alleged SMSes have been sent to all regions of Puducherry including Male and Yenam, and that several booth-level groups have been created to target the respective voters. He further submitted his conversation with the WhatsApp group administrator enquiring how the mobile numbers were obtained to which the administrator asked the petitioner to approach the BJP Puducherry party office.

The petitioner also alleged that spam calls have also become a tool for campaigning, which he himself received, wherein the caller clarified the petitioner’s name, his booth, and the constituency he has to vote in. The petitioner further submits his research, wherein he found that such calls and messages were sent to only those whose numbers were linked with Aadhar Card and maintained that even Chief Electoral Officers, merely contain the names with photos of voters and not their cellular details.
The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy passed interim orders and observed,
“A matter of serious concern has been reported by the petitioner that a prominent political party apparently has access to personal records of citizens to undertake a political campaign”.

On ECI counsel Niranjan Rajgopalan’s submission that the concerned matter has been transferred to the cybercrime cell, the bench maintained,
“It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say the cybercrime division is conducting an investigation. When the Commission is up and about in all other matters and asserts its primacy and authority, it has to look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves.”

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