The Supreme Court will hear on Monday a petition challenging a law that allows linking electoral roll data with Aadhaar, reported NDTV.
The Union government notified the law under the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, on June 17. The law allows electoral registration officers to seek Aadhaar numbers of citizens who want to register as voters to establish their identity.
The petition has been filed by Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Randeep Singh Surjewala. The law is unconstitutional and violates the rights to privacy and equality, he has said.
The government has maintained that sharing Aadhaar details will be voluntary. However, several activists have expressed concerns that the linking of two documents can compromise privacy of citizens’ data.
In March 2015, the Election Commission launched a countrywide project to link Aadhaar and voter ID cards. The project was stopped after a Supreme Court judgement in October 2015 that limited the purposes for which Aadhaar could be used. Voter identification was not among them.
However, during the project, state election commissions were found to have used data collected for other schemes without consent, a Scroll.in investigation in February 2019 showed.
The government has argued that the linking of both the IDs is meant to remove fake voters as several persons register their names on the electoral rolls in multiple states. The Opposition has, however, contended that the linking could lead to more non-citizens voting in the country.
“Aadhaar was meant to be proof of residence, not citizenship,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had said. “If you are asking for an Aadhaar card from the voter, all you get is a document that reflects residence. You are potentially giving voting rights to non-citizens.”
Besides the Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Trinamool Congress, the Shiv Sena and the Bahujan Samaj Party have also opposed the law.