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

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.