The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote.
The duplication of voter list is an issue that has been plaguing our electoral system for a long time.
The benefit highlighted by the government is that it will solve the problem of multiple enrolments of the same person.
Whenever Aadhaar card will be linked to voter id, the electoral roll data system will instantly alert the existence of previous registration(s) whenever an individual applies for new registration.
Electoral registration in area where the person is an ordinarily resident can be ensured. It will go a long way in cleaning the electoral roll.
The government says that linking Aadhaar with the voter ID card is voluntary and there is no compulsion.
The Supreme Court has also made it clear that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory.
The Election commission had started National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme in 2015 to delete duplicated names. It involved linking Aadhaar and Voter id.
The Representation of the People Act, 1950 and the Representation of the People Act, 1951 will be amended to implement reforms.
The opposition says that linking Aadhaar with voter IDs is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.
There is also a belief that government will use the new information to disenfranchise some people and profile the citizens.
Some members say that the Bill could violate secrecy of the vote undermining the principle of secret ballots.
There is also a conceptual confusion as Aadhaar is not a proof of citizenship and cannot be used to distinguish citizens and non-citizens of the country.