- Linking Aadhaar-Voter ID will eliminate multiple enrollments of the same person at different places
- Earlier in 2015, ECI had launched a programme to link Aadhaar with Voter ID
- The ECI's programme to link Aadhaar with Voter ID was later stalled by the Supreme Court
The Union Cabinet has cleared a bill on electoral reforms, allowing the Election Commission of India to link the Aadhaar number with Voter ID number. However, this will be on a voluntary basis, according to media reports. The bill will amend the Representation of the People Act.
In August 2019, the ECI had proposed amendments including linking the ID card with Aadhaar. It had said that doing this will help in checking multiple enrollments of the same person at different places.
Notably, this has been a long-pending proposal of the Election Commission. The commission had in 2015 launched the National Electoral Law Purification and Authentication Programme to link the Aadhaar with the Voter ID. However, the Supreme Court stalled the programme.
According to reports, the government started working on the ECI's proposal in 2020. Earlier in August this year, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju informed Parliament that the government was considering the ECI's proposal.
The bill also seeks to make 'gender-neutral' for service voters. According to the existing rule, an army man’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not. The ECI is believed to have asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ related to service voters in the Act.
Another provision of the bill will allow new voters to enrol on four different dates every year. Currently, those turning 18 on or before January 1 of every year are only eligible to register as voters.