A bill on electoral reforms, which seeks to link the voter list (voter ID card) with the Aadhaar ecosystem, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday amid protests by opposition MPs.
Opposing the bill, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that Aadhaar only means proof of residence, it is not a proof of citizenship.
“If you are in a position to ask for Aadhaar for voters, you are only getting a document that shows residence, not citizenship. You are potentially voting for non-citizens,” he said. .
Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “The Aadhaar Act does not allow linking of Aadhaar with the voter list. We demand the withdrawal of the Election Act (Amendment) Bill.” AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also opposed the introduction of the bill.
However, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju denied the allegations. He said the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 allows Electoral Registration Officers to obtain Aadhaar numbers of those who wish to register as voters “for the purpose of establishing identity”. The Bill amends various sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951.
It also seeks to allow the Electoral Registration Officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers from persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in the electoral roll, and the same person’s name registered in the electoral roll is more than identified. to be included in the voter list. in a constituency or more than once in the same constituency.
The Bill makes it clear that no application for the inclusion of a name in the electoral roll shall be rejected and no entry shall be deleted in the electoral roll for the inability of a person to furnish Aadhaar number or inform due to sufficient reason prescribed by him. . Such persons will be allowed to produce such other optional documents as may be prescribed.
The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill said that Section 23 of the RP Act, 1950 would be amended to allow linking of voter list data to the Aadhaar ecosystem “in danger of multiple enrollments of the same person at different locations”. to stop”.
Amendments to Section 14 of the RP Act, 1950 would allow four “qualifying” dates for eligible people to register as voters. As of now, January 1 of each year is the only qualifying date. Those who turn 18 on or before January 1 can register as a voter. After this, those who turn 18 have to wait for a full year to register as a voter. Now, “the first day of January, the first day of April, the first day of July and the first day of October in a calendar year” shall be the qualifying dates in respect of the preparation or revision of electoral rolls.
Amendments to Section 20 of the RP Act, 1950 and Section 60 of the RP Act, 1951 will make the election gender neutral for service voters. The amendment would help replace the word “wife” with the word “spouse”, making the statute “gender neutral”. As per the provisions of the electoral law, the wife of an armyman is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but the husband of a woman army officer is not. With the word “spouse” in place of the word “wife”, it will change.