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Aadhaar-Voter ID Linking Did Not Meet Protests Earlier, Says Parliamentary Committee

| Updated: December 22, 2021 16:47

Despite rife protests from the Opposition, the Aadhar-Voter ID link was passed on Monday in the Lok Sabha. Tuesday saw it push through the Upper house too. However, the joint opposition has raised a strong
objection saying it violates the fundamental right to privacy. The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 will enable linking of electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Interestingly, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice pointed out that, when in March 2020, of its own volition it asked the government to undertake
“appropriate action for linking unique Aadhaar Card number with Voter ID Card,” the Opposition did not protest.

The Committee, in its 101st report on Demands for Grants (2020-2021) of the Ministry of Law and Justice, noted: “Free and fair elections is the bedrock of democracy and the latter is a Basic Feature of the
Constitution. An error-free Electoral Roll is sine qua non of free and fair election. “The Committee has been advocating the move to streamline Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) data during change of residence by
the electors. The move is solely in the larger interest of democratic polity,” read an official release from the body.

The committee, then headed by BJP’s Bhupender Yadav, adopted the report at its sitting on March 4, 2020. It was attended by 25 MPs in total, from both Houses. Notable names in attendance were Rajya Sabha
members Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (TMC), Vivek Tankha (Congress), Majeed Memon (NCP) and P. Wilson (DMK). The report was tabled on March 6.

However, when contacted on Tuesday, Mr Ray stated that he sought time to submit the note of dissent. “It was not granted and hence, the note was dismissed,” he said. For his part, Congress MP Mr Tankha added: “To be honest, I do not recollect this part being discussed in my presence. Else I would surely have instanced the gross fallacy it is based on, by my own case. My name on the electoral roll is in my hometown Jabalpur. I also live in Delhi and so my Aadhaar card has been issued from Delhi.

How does one reconcile the variation?”

Mr Memon recalled that the main issue of electoral reforms discussed was on the holding of one election for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha: “It was discussed for months. Not these reforms. I was never asked. I never
voted for it.”

Though the ruling BJP-led government maintained that the linking will make for better electoral management, the Opposition warns that the linking will lead to “amassing an electorate for the BJP, by the BJP.”

Trinamul Congress MP Derek O’Brien, was among the most vocal protestors. He was suspended for the remaining Winter Session for his misconduct of throwing the book of rules to the Chair.

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