Skip to main content

Linking aadhaar with election ID would 'disenfranchise' elderly, manual labourers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), more than 200 prominent citizens have said that a petition Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India before the Delhi High Court seeking an e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometrics should be “dismissed”, as aadhaar linkage with the Election ID “would harm the right to vote that Indian citizens have under our democracy, flowing from the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.”
While the Delhi High Court has asked the ECI to “consider” the plea within eight weeks, the letter states, the Act considers universal adult suffrage to Indian citizens (including non-resident Indians (NRIs) still holding an Indian passport), and Section 9 of the aadhaar Act, 2016, does not constitute proof
The letter says, “Linking of aadhaar number with voter ID would effectively be an exercise involving significant public expense and yielding no benefit whatsoever in determining the genuineness of voters”, warning that the linking would “weaken and contaminate” the Indian electoral system, even as harming the functioning of India’s democracy, as there are many instances where aadhaar IDs had been found with non-nationals.
The letter asks the ECI to recall the “disastrous outcome” of a previous exercise of aadhaar-voter ID linking conducted as part of the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Program (NERPAP) in 2015, due to which at least 30 lakh voters disenfranchised. “As that exercise demonstrates, carrying out timely door-to-door verification of voters is as yet the most effective method of updating electoral rolls and ensuring accuracy of voter data,” insists the letter.
The signatories of the letter include Dalit rights leader Bezwada Wilson, politicians Brinda Karat and Yashwant Sinha, bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander, political scientist Jagdeep Chhokar, development economist Jean Dreze, actor Nandita Das, RTI activists Nikhil Dey and Venkatesh Nayak, ex-Gujarat DGP PGJ Nampoothiri, journalist P Sainath, farmers’ activist Sagar Rabari, human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi, film director Shyam Benegal, and social scientist Sukhadeo Thorat.

Text:

We are writing in reference to the Delhi High Court’s direction in Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India , wherein the petitioner “proposes an e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometric” and, for that purpose, linking of aadhaar number with voter ID, in response to which the Election Commission of India (ECI) is requested to consider the plea within 8 weeks.
We believe that such a consideration has much graver implications for our democracy as a whole, compelling us to share our grave concerns in this letter. At the outset, we remind the Hon’ble Commission that the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, currently limits universal adult suffrage to Indian citizens (including non-resident Indians (NRIs) still holding an Indian passport).
We would like to bring to the Hon’ble Commission’s attention that, per Section 9 of the aadhaar Act, 2016 , “the aadhaar number or authentication thereof” does not constitute proof of citizenship - the full section is quoted below: “9. The aadhaar number or the authentication thereof shall not, by itself, confer any right of, or be proof of citizenship or domicile in respect of an aadhaar number holder.”
Linking of aadhaar number with voter ID would effectively be an exercise involving significant public expense and yielding no benefit whatsoever in determining the genuineness of voters. On the contrary, many aadhaar IDs have been found with non-nationals. Taking into account the many cases of blatantly incorrect enrollments, leave aside fakes , linking aadhaar with the electoral roll would weaken and contaminate the Indian electoral system. It would undermine the integrity of the Indian election process and harm the functioning of democracy.
We also ask the Hon’ble Commission to recollect the disastrous outcome of the previous exercise of aadhaar-voter ID linking conducted as part of the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Program (NERPAP) in 2015, due to which at least 30 lakh voters disenfranchised. As that exercise demonstrates, carrying out timely door-to-door verification of voters is as yet the most effective method of updating electoral rolls and ensuring accuracy of voter data.
Specifically addressing the bogey that “e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometric” can “prevent bogus or fabricated voting”, we would like to point out that not only does possessing an aadhaar number fail to qualify the number holder’s eligibility to vote, biometric-linked authentication would on the contrary disenfranchise many rightful voters, in particular the elderly, manual labourers, and those living in areas suffering a lack of electric power and/or network coverage.
Lastly, we draw your attention to the 2017-2018 State of Aadhaar Report , one of whose findings is that self-reported errors in aadhaar data were found to be one-and-one-half times higher than errors in the electoral database [Pg 10]. It would therefore be erroneous to conclude that linking aadhaar number to voter ID will help “purify” the electoral rolls in any manner.
Aadhaar linkage would harm the right to vote that Indian citizens have under our democracy, flowing from the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. We urge you to seek the dismissal of Upadhyay’s petition for the reasons listed above at the earliest, and not let the issue drag on any further.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Why are such petitions even encouraged.. Linking cards should have been done long time ago as part of the implementation itself. I see no harm in voters being able to vote with finger prints and biometrics. So much technology and so many cards and voters still are being turned back as they are not in the voting list ?? this needs to stop. The bad elements will always stand in the way of good policies. We need good governance and enable people to vote and people who file such false petitions quoting hughe expenses etc should first start paying their taxes before complaining.
Anonymous said…
Every civilized nation has it's " aadhar " card.

i.e USA, U.K. France. Germany, Canada, you name it.

USA- Social security Number

UK- National Ientification number

Canada- Social Insuarance number

With his number/card, the person cannot open a bank account, file taxes, go to school, get a loan, get a pension.

Every resident in these nations must have one, no exceptions. Are all advanced, civilized nations- stupid?

Only thieves, money launderers, criminals do not want the aadhar card implemented/
Unknown said…
I don't understand what kind of a shitty argument this is. Aadhar HAS to be linked to everything you do! While alive or dead! That leads to good governance in the future.

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.