Over 200 Citizens Urge EC to Dismiss Plea to Link Aadhaar-Voter ID
The government has introduced the Aadhaar Act as a ‘money bill’.
The government has introduced the Aadhaar Act as a ‘money bill’. (Photo: The Quint)

Over 200 Citizens Urge EC to Dismiss Plea to Link Aadhaar-Voter ID

Over 200 concerned citizens have signed their name to a letter which demands that the Election Commission proactively seek dismissal of a petition that “proposes an e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometric” and, for that purpose, linking of Aadhaar number with the Voter ID.

Some notable names who have endorsed the letter include politicians Brinda Karat, Yashwant Sinha and Manoj Jha, along with retired defence personnel Col Mathew Thomas, Wing Commander Kartar Sainani and petitioners in the SC Aadhaar case Kalyani Menon-Sen, Shantha Sinha, MG Devasahayam and Bezwada.

The list also includes noted journalists like Rajni Bakshi, Sucheta Dalal and P Sainath and artists Nandita Das, Shyam Benegal, TM Krishna and Anand Patwardhan.

Also Read : Delhi HC Asks EC to Consider Aadhaar-Based Voting for Elections

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WHAT DOES THE PETITION SAY?

The petition was filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday, 16 July, sought a response from the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi on a plea seeking to link movable and immovable property documents of citizens with their Aadhaar number to curb corruption, black money generation and 'benami' transactions.

In a separate petition filed by him, the court directed the Election Commission to decide within eight weeks the representation given to it by Upadhyay in March, for taking steps to link voter ID with Aadhaar number to curtail bogus and duplicate voting in polls.

The court disposed of the plea in which he has also sought that EC be directed to take appropriate steps to implement 'Aadhaar based election voting system' to ensure maximum participation of citizens in polls and to curtail fake and fabricated votes.

In the petition for linking voter ID with Aadhaar, the petitioner said, "It is pertinent to point out that once Aadhaar is created, mere linking of the same with Voter ID would not tantamount to infringement of any fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution."

The plea said linking of Aadhaar with Voter ID may not be a mandatory requirement and therefore, failure to do the linking would not deprive citizens of basic right of exercising his right to vote.

The proposed Aadhaar-based voting system involves fingerprint of the voter, which is saved in the government's database with an individual's Aadhaar number, the petition said.

WHAT THE LETTER SAYS

The signatories of the letter raised several concerns with Upadhyay’s proposal and raised issues like fake cards with non-nationals and expenses the government will have to bear.

“Linking of Aadhaar number with voter ID would effectively be an exercise involving significant public expense and yielding no benefit whatsoever in determining the genuineness of voters. On the contrary, many Aadhaar IDs have been found with non-nationals. Taking into account the many cases of blatantly incorrect enrollments, leave aside fakes, linking Aadhaar with the electoral roll would weaken and contaminate the Indian electoral system. It would undermine the integrity of the Indian election process and harm the functioning of democracy,” the letter said.

“Specifically, addressing the bogey that ‘e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometric’ can ‘prevent bogus or fabricated voting’, we would like to point out that not only does possessing an Aadhaar number fail to qualify the number holder’s eligibility to vote, biometric-linked authentication would on the contrary disenfranchise many rightful voters, in particular the elderly, manual labourers, and those living in areas suffering a lack of electric power and/or network coverage,” the letter added.

The letter also said that Aadhaar linkage would harm the right to vote that Indian citizens have under the democracy, flowing from the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.

Also Read : Mumbai Man Fights Against Linking Aadhaar To Salary Account

(With inputs from PTI)

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