Amid Opposition criticism of a bill to link Aadhaar with electoral rolls, sources in the government on Tuesday said the move would solve the "major problem" of multiple enrolment of the same person at different places and help in "cleaning" the voters list to a great extent.
The assertion comes a day after the 'Election Laws (Amendment) bill 2021' to link electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem and bring other poll reforms was passed by the Lok Sabha after a brief debate and amid demand by the Opposition to refer it to a standing committee. The government sources said the bill incorporates various electoral reforms which have been discussed for a long time.
Registration in the electoral roll is done based on an application by a person who is eligible to be registered as a voter and this bill has a provision whereby the new applicant may voluntarily provide the Aadhaar number along with the application for the purpose of identity, they said.
No application will be rejected on the grounds that Aadhaar number has not been provided, the sources added.
Aadhaar linking with electoral roll will solve "one of the major problems" in electoral database management which is multiple enrolment of the same person at different places, they said. This may be due to the frequent shifting of residence by electors and getting enrolled in the new place without deleting the previous enrolment, the sources noted. Thus, the possibility of electors whose names appear in more than one electoral roll or at times more than once in the same electoral roll can be removed, they said.
Once Aadhaar linkage is achieved, the electoral roll data system will instantly alert the existence of previous registration(s) whenever a person applies for new registration, the sources said. This will help in "cleaning" the electoral roll to a great extent and facilitate voter registration in the location at which they are 'ordinarily resident', the sources added.
Besides linking electoral roll to Aadhaar, the bill also seeks to make the statutes gender neutral by substituting the term 'wife' with 'spouse' to allow husbands of service voters to cast their vote from the place where their wives are posted. It also seeks to provide four qualifying dates -- January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 -- in a year for registration of voters, instead of a single qualifying date -- January 1.