Internet activists red flag Aadhar-Voter ID linking move

With the introduction of door-to-door collection of Aadhaar numbers for linking voter IDs, the controversial amendment to the Election Act Bill is again in the news. Internet activists are raising a red flag saying the move could deprive millions of voters and reduce the sanctity of the voter ID database.

Internet Freedom Foundation, an internet rights organisation, issued a letter received from a booth-level officer (BLO) in which the Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana has asked the BLOs to start door-to-door visits for collection of Aadhaar numbers for voters already in the know. instructed. electoral roll. The collection began on August 16, 2022, and the letter specified that the collection of Aadhaar numbers would be voluntary.

However, the IFF argues that a person contacted by a BLO was informed that his name would be removed from the electoral roll if the voter ID card was not linked to the Aadhaar card.

In December, the Lok Sabha passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill to link two identity cards to avoid errors like voter duplication in electoral rolls. However, activists note that such a law may be considered unconstitutional as an Indian citizen only needs to prove his citizenship by providing a voter ID. For this, documents ranging from PAN card, birth certificate, ration card to bank passbook can be used. Citizens have to establish their address proof, age proof and identity proof to get voter ID card.

While the government noted that the move would be voluntary, in June the Ministry of Law and Justice amended Form 6, used for voter list authentication, to make it mandatory for a citizen to provide an Aadhaar number if he has an Aadhaar ID card.

‘Purity will decrease’

While the government maintains that the intention is to clean up the voter list database, activists argue that the Aadhaar-linked database that is linked to various cases of fraud will increase the chances of voter fraud. “Linking of Aadhaar will reduce the sanctity of the voter ID database. As we pointed out in 2019, self-reported errors in Aadhaar data are one and a half times higher than errors in electoral databases. Given the widespread data quality issues in the Aadhaar database, this exercise will reduce the sanctity of records in the voter ID database,” said a report released by Rethink Aadhaar, a campaign against the Unique Identification Project.

Krishnash Bapat, Associate Legal Counsel at IFF said, “Now an Aadhaar number is linked to every information from a citizen’s bank account to UPI, government subsidy schemes to mobile plans. This is important information, and a citizen should have every right to keep this information safe and not to be part of an electoral roll.”

Published on

20 August 2022

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https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/internet-activists-raise-stink-over-aadhar-voter-id-linking/article65788240.ece

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