In an exercise of electoral reform, voter registration is supposed to be done on the basis of Aadhar number to find out the identity of the applicant. A new bill relating to the Election Laws (Amendment) 2021has been introduced in Parliament. However, it has also been made amply
clear that there will be no deletion of any electoral roll nor any denial to include any new name if an individual is unable to provide any aadhar no.
However, any new applicant will be given the chance to present other documents such as a driving license, passport, utility bills, etc if he or she is not in a position to furnish aadhar no.
The primary object of this integration is to curb the practice of a person voting at several places which have been detected as very rampant during elections.
Again as of now instead of a single day I,e January 1, the bill provides for four days – January 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct 1 to register as VOTER for those turning 18 on or before January 1.
WHY SUCH LINKING IS DANGEROUS
Some experts opine that Govt should not rush into such a reform because of certain key reasons which may result in increased fraud.
However, supporting such a link the ECI stresses on two key reasons first- creatIng better accessibility to voting and second- eliminating VOTER FRAUD to a great extent.
Emphasizing the first point it says that 300 million migrant workers located at different places will be able to participate in exercising their voting right regardless of wherever they might be located.
Second is to eliminate voter fraud because aadhar no. can’t be duplicated because it is based on biometric technology and hence, the information detailed in aadhar is authentic.
But experts point out three disadvantages of such a reform. India lacks any personal data protection law hence, its absence is likely to abuse this linking of Aadhar with the voter ID.
The EPIC database will be able to acquire certain information such as the caste certificate or driving license of the people and this information will come handy for the govt to carry out political advertisement or will give them a chance to target some voters with disenfranchisement. There are examples that such aadhar information has been misused for targetted surveillance.
Second – this linking of data base will create opportunities for the people to be engaged in increased fraud.
Third – the world Bank has emphasized that if there is only one type of identification, large number of citizens will not get the chance to vote, besides the citizens are also deprived of certain welfare system. Studying this system in the country where such a system in currently prevailing it is found true that as the citizens are not able to prove their identity- less number of citizens are taking part in the election process.
The govt move to link the voter ID with aadhar is specifically for two purposes. First- to remove the duplicate entries and second- to give remote voting rights to the staggering migrant workers. The idea is noble indeed and it was due for a long time. Then the voter card should cease to be a tool of identification. The country should strive for a single identification system as multiplicity may lead to fraudulent activities. It is time that govt comes out very strongly against multiple voting by a single voter which has been the bane of the election style