New Delhi, January 24: The seeding of voter ID cards with Aadhaar is likely to resume as the Union Law Ministry is reportedly favouring the Election Commission's proposal regarding the same. A leading English daily has learnt that the Ministry has positively responded to the Commission's request, seeking amendments in the Aadhaar Act to enable linking of unique ID number with the Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). SC Declines Urgent Hearing of PIL Seeking Linking of Voter ID Cards with Aadhaar.
The Commission had, in 2015, initiated the Aadhaar-Voter ID linking process to eliminate bogus voters and those whose names have been repeated in the electoral rolls. The then Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma had approved the measure. By August last year, the EC had already linked 38 crore voter ID cards with Aadhaar numbers.
The process was halted after the Supreme Court, in its order issued in August, restricted the use of Aadhaar only for distribution of benefits under state-sponsored scheme. The use of UIDAI number, beyond PDS, LPG and kerosene distribution, may infringe upon the right to privacy, the bench had noted.
After scrutinising the court order, the Commission found that Aadhaar could still be used for measures other than distributing subsidies if "state interest" is served. In its request sent to the Law Ministry in August 2019, the EC noted that elimination of bogus voters and cleaning the electoral roll would serve the national interest.
The Law Ministry had written back to the EC in August this year, asking the poll body to enlist measures which would be adopted to safeguard the Aadhaar data. The Commission, in its response, said that the EC would not be interfering into the Aadhaar electoral system. At the infrastructure level, it listed the various anti-virus and firewalls that would be installed to prevent the theft of data.
According to The Indian Express, the Law Ministry is positive with the EC's response and is expected to propose amendments to the Aadhaar Act to enable linking the unique identity number with the voter IDs. If approved by the Union Cabinet, the amendments could be tabled for passage as early as the upcoming Budget Session of the Parliament.