Published on: July 25 2022 at 18:52 IST
The Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2021’s provisions allowing the linking of voter cards with Aadhaar numbers was challenged in a Public Interest Litigation filed by Congress General Secretary and Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
The Supreme Court refused to entertain the Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
A Bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna asked the petitioner to move to the High Court raising the challenge.
When the case was taken, the bench asked the petitioner’s counsel, “Why don’t you move the Delhi High Court?”
Actually, there will be elections in three different States. There may be variance in outcomes of the different HCs, the counsel added.
The Supreme Court can be approached by the centre for clubbing and transfer if there are multiplicity of proceedings, the bench ruled. The Bench said, “Later, if required, it can be clubbed and sent to one HC.”
Despite having valid identification documents, the petitioner argues that this move can result in “disenfranchisement millions of voters.” Additionally, it is argued that an alternative mechanism to curb the menace of multiple enrolments of same voter at several places.
The said amendment violates the Right to Equality, according to an additional argument. “All voters with EPIC, who have an equal right to vote, are treated unequally by the impugned amendment, and voters with only EPIC are now required to satisfy ERO with sufficient cause and arrange alternate documents to the satisfaction of ERO before being allowed to vote.”
“These two actions constitute a clear violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. That the impugned amendment clearly violates Article 14 by creating voters into two classes, namely those who have Aadhaar and those who do not. “
The petitioner apprehends that the move can also violate the idea of a secret ballot.
The petitioner also argued that the amendment is “manifestly arbitrary and completely irrational” because it intends to link two entirely distinct documents (along with their data), namely the EPIC/Voter ID, which is a proof of citizenship, and the Aadhaar Card, which is a proof of residency (permanent or temporary).