Aadhaar | Elections in India | Kiren Rijiju
Krishna Veera Vanamali |
When The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was tabled in Rajya Sabha on December 21, members of the opposition parties stormed into the Well of the House. TMC MP Derek O’ Brien was suspended for throwing a rule book at the reporters’ table. It all happened when the opposition’s motion to send the legislation to a select committee was defeated. But just like the Lok Sabha, the bill sailed through the Upper House amid the protests. It awaits the President’s nod to become a law. Through the bill, the government is amending both The Representation of the People Acts of 1950 and 1951. One of its main provisions creates a legal framework to link electoral roll data with Aadhaar. The government said it was meant to strike out bogus voters, foreigners who are wrongfully included as voters and also those who are enrolled in more than two constituencies. While tabling the bill, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had said that “only those who use bogus voters list will oppose this Bill”. The new rule empowers the electoral registration officers to ask a person applying for a new voter ID to furnish his Aadhaar number for the purpose of establishing identity. They can also seek Aadhaar numbers from registered voters to check for duplication. While the government has insisted that furnishing Aadhaar is voluntary, the wording of the bill raises doubts about such assertions. It says that no one shall be denied registration and no entry shall be deleted from the electoral roll due to a person’s inability to furnish Aadhaar number due to sufficient cause as may be prescribed. This suggests that the government will define what constitutes a sufficient cause for a person to not submit his Aadhaar.
Such individuals will be allowed to furnish alternate documents, as will be prescribed by the government.
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