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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

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.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”

Degrading conditions amidst Covid-19: Toxic ship at Alang, Gujarat, 'endangers' migrants

Counterview Desk
Evironmental activist Dr Gopal Krishna, who edits the ToxicsWatch journal, in an open letter to the chairman, Ship Breaking Scrap Committee, Union Ministry of Shipping, with copies to the joint secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping and other Government of India ministries* has said that there exists “threat to Indian maritime environment and security from viral diseases like Covid-19 from ballast water and toxic substances.”

Human rights 'abuses': Funding to India should be vetted, Greens tell Australian govt

Counterview Desk
A roundtable organised by Australian Greens, which is the third biggest political group in the country, held to discuss human rights situation in India at the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney has insisted that parliamentarians, human rights activists and lawyers should play a more active role “standing up for human rights not just in their own places but also in India.”