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

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three 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.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.