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'Violates fundamental right to privacy': Owaisi opposes proposal to link Aadhaar with Voter ID

Last week, the Union Cabinet is believed to have cleared a bill on electoral reforms, allowing the Election Commission of India to link the Aadhaar with the Voter ID of individuals.

Written by: Abhinav Ranjan New Delhi Updated on: December 20, 2021 10:19 IST
AIMIM leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

AIMIM leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi

Highlights

  • The Centre recently cleared a bill on electoral reforms, allowing linking Aadhaar with Voter IDs
  • Owaisi argues that linking two documents will cause severe harms to security, privacy of individuals
  • However, ECI believes that doing this will eliminate multiple enrollments of the same person

AIMIM leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has opposed the government's proposal to link the Aadhaar number with Voter ID. Owaisi in a notice sent to the Lok Sabha Secretariat said that linking the two documents violates the fundamental right to privacy. He said that the 'House cannot interfere with the fundamental rights of the individual'.

Last week, the Union Cabinet is believed to have cleared a bill on electoral reforms, allowing the Election Commission of India to link the Aadhaar number with the Voter ID number. However, this will be on a voluntary basis, according to media reports. The bill -- The Election Laws (Amendment), Bill 2021, will amend the Representation of the People Act.

"The Bill is outside the legislative competence of the House as it violates the limits on legislation set by the Supreme Court in its judgment (Puttaswamy vs Union of India). The linking of voter IDs and Aadhaar violates the fundamental right to privacy as defined by the Supreme Court in the judgment. This House is not competent to enact a law that violates a fundamental right of citizens," he said.

Owaisi noted that the Bill proposes to make Aadhaar authentication mandatory, which is prohibited by the Supreme Court, which only limited it to welfare schemes.

"Linking Aadhaar and Voter IDs will lead to severe harms to the security and privacy of individuals. Previous such exercises in states have resulted in large-scale exclusions. It will also allow governments in power to suppress, disenfranchise, profile voters and discriminate between beneficiaries of government schemes. It will end up violating the principles of the secret ballot, universal adult franchise and free and fair elections," he said.

Notably, linking Voter IDs with Aadhaar has been a long-pending proposal of the Election Commission. The ECI had in August 2019 proposed amendments, saying doing this will help in checking multiple enrollments of the same person at different places. The commission had in 2015 even launched the National Electoral Law Purification and Authentication Programme to link the Aadhaar with the Voter ID. However, the Supreme Court stalled the programme.

READ MORE: Union Cabinet clears bill to link Aadhaar number with Voter ID

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