SC to hear plea challenging Aadhaar & Voter ID linking
The Supreme Court, on Monday, will be hearing a plea against a law that proposes to link Aaadhar with Voter ID. The law has been challenged by Indian National Congress (INC) spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, who argues that it can lead to more non-citizens voting in elections. Terming the proposition as 'unconstitutional', the petition seeks to scrap the law.
- The central government, on the other hand, has defended the move claiming that linking Aadhaar with voter identities was critical to eliminating fake and redundant voter cards, thereby making elections fair and transparent.
A bench comprising of DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna will be hearing Surjewala's petition that claims the law to be a violation of privacy. "Linking infringes upon the Fundamental Right of Privacy of citizens and therefore is unconstitutional," the petition reads. Surjewala contends that the linking of two completely different documents, i.e., Aadhaar (proof of residency) and Voter ID (proof of citizenship) is 'irrational'.
"The linking amendment grants Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with private electoral data of voters," the petition states, expressing worry that it does not direct UIDAI to set performance standards for itself. Amid multiple data leaks, Surjewala warns, this could be harmful to citizens' privacy. He adds that the amendment was introduced without verifiable data of voters who have multiple enrolments.
On June 19, 2022, the central government issued an order notifying the rules permitting the integration of Aadhaar numbers with voter IDs. The rules were given out after due deliberations with the Election Commission of India (ECI). In addition to linking Aadhaar with electoral data, the central government allowed new voters to get registered four times a year, rather than once.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks to link electoral rolls with the Aadhaar ecosystem to wipe out duplication. The bill aims to end bogus voting and make the electoral process more credible, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said in Parliament. It proposes an amendment of Section 23 of the Representation of People Act, 1950 to link Aadhaar with the electoral roll.