25 Aug Aadhaar and voter ID linking
Aadhaar and voter ID linking
Why in news?
The Election Commission has stated that filling out Form 6B’s Aadhaar and Voter ID connection is entirely optional.
What past attempts have been made in this regard?
In the districts of Nizamabad and Hyderabad in 2014, the Election Commission of India (ECI) ran two pilot projects to integrate voter identification with Aadhaar.
The National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) was introduced by the ECI in April 2015.
However, the initiative was stopped by a Supreme Court decision in August 2015.
Why is Aadhaar linked to voter identification?
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which aims to connect the Aadhaar to voter ID, was approved by the Lok Sabha.
The primary goal of the linkage is to prevent mistakes like duplicate voters on the electoral roster.
It is required to clean up the voting records due to the rise in migrant populations in urban sprawls, demographic changes brought on by the arrival of more eligible voters, and the death of elderly persons.
If the citizen has an Aadhaar ID card, the Ministry of Law and Justice modified Form 6 to make providing an Aadhaar number mandatory. Form 6 is used to authenticate the electoral roll.
But the Government has claimed that this process will be optional, as have later ECI authorities.
What objections have been raised to the linking?
- Unconstitutional: Activists point out that since an Indian citizen just needs to show proof of citizenship in order to receive a voter identification card, the rule may be deemed unconstitutional.
- Given the proportionality requirements that had to be completed in order to limit the right to privacy, linking Aadhaar and voter IDs may also infringe citizens’ basic rights.
- Not necessary—only adult citizens who reside in India are eligible to vote, but Aadhaar is intended to be provided to residents.
- Linking Aadhaar is useless because voters can register using documents attesting to their age and present address.
- A recent study by the comptroller and auditor general noted that about 5 lakh Aadhaar cards were removed for being duplicates, which has led to an increase in fraud instances.
- Voter profiling: By connecting Aadhaar to voter IDs, organisations may abuse their access to create voter profiles based on collected data, which may then be used to drive more focused campaigning.
- Security issues – This potential is also made more likely by the lack of a data protection regulation.
- Issues with data quality: Linking Aadhaar might compromise the integrity of the voter ID database.
- Data from the Internet Freedom Foundation demonstrate that the Aadhaar database has more self-reported mistakes than the electoral database does.
- Disenfranchisement: After voter IDs in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were linked to Aadhaar numbers, nearly 55 lakh voters had their names removed from the voter list.
- According to Article 326 of the Constitution, the right to vote cannot be curtailed unless in cases of ineligibility, insanity, crime, or corrupt or illegal activity.
- Utilizing data for elections will be made simpler for political parties in power by online trends on election day and voter microtargeting using their data.