The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, introduced by Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju, has been passed in Lok Sabha through voice vote. The Bill seeks to link Aadhaar with the Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC). The Bill was opposed by the Congress, AIMIM, BSP and other opposition parties.
The Opposition claimed that it would be a violation of the Constitutional rights of citizens and would violate their right to privacy if Aadhaar is connected to the electoral rolls. The Opposition demanded the rollback of the Bill.
“Aadhaar was meant to be proof of residence, not proof of citizenship. If you are asking an Aadhar card for the voter, all you get is a document that reflects residence. You are potentially giving voting rights to non-citizens,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said in the Lok Sabha.
“Voting is a legal right. Linking of Aadhaar with voter ID is wrong,” said another Congress leader, Manish Tewari.
Trinamool Congress leader Saugato Roy, pointing out that Aadhaar cards are issued by the government to all citizens, said: “The central government is interfering in the election process. I oppose this Bill.”
Opposition MPs voiced their objections to the proposed election reforms against the backdrop of unceasing slogan-shouting by their colleagues demanding Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s sacking over allegations that his son ran over farmers in Uttar Pradesh.
Rejecting the demand, Rijiju said that various proposals that are part of the bill have already been suggested and recommended by the Standing Committee of Law and Personnel. The minister further said that the Bill will cleanse the election system.
As the Opposition continued with their protest, Rajya Sabha proceedings have been adjourned till 5 pm.
The Union Cabinet had earlier cleared the bill on electoral reforms. These reforms included the bill seeking to link the electoral roll with Aadhaar on a voluntary basis to root out multiple enrolments.
In March, then Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that the poll panel had proposed to link electoral roll with the “Aadhaar ecosystem” with a “view to curb the menace of multiple enrollment of the same person at different places”.