Just a day after the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the validation of Aadhaar, the Election Commission of India has reportedly started preparations to resume the process the linking Aadhaar number with Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC), also known as voter id cards.
According to reports, some of the officers have already been asked to outline the possible actionable points related to Aadhaar linkage while considering the court judgement. The Election Commision (EC) will plan its course of action within a week’s time.
The project of linking Aadhaar number with voter id was taken up in 2015. However, it got suspended due to privacy-related concerns and the ongoing case on Adhaar regarding the same.
At this time, the Commission had linked the Aadhaar number of nearly 38 Cr voters before the suspension of the project. Currently, it looks to decide “quickly” on this matter in order to cover the maximum number of voters.
The Commission has reportedly decided to analyse the legal aspects because there was no specific mention on the issue in the top court order issued on September 26.
According to the Commission, the linking of Aadhaar is important to check duplication in electoral rolls.
In the future, it would also help in the implementation of advanced voting mechanism like electronic or internet-based voting and also extending “remote voting” right to domestic migrants.
According to the proposal, linking Aadhaar with voter id cards will not be mandatory and thus the voters can choose whether they wish to link to not.
However, according to the Commission, certain services such as internet voting in the future will be available to those who have linked Aadhaar with their Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC).
In 2017, the Commission had reportedly filed an application in the Supreme Court to continue with Aadhaar linking keeping larger public interest in mind.
Earlier this year, the EC had reportedly reiterated its plea that the linking of Aadhaar and voter will be voluntary.
This development comes in a few months after union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had told the media that personally, he is not in favour of linking Aadhaar with EPIC cards as the government “was not willing to face the accusation of spying on the people”.
Aadhaar Judgement In India
After a long wait on the Aadhaar case. The SC had ruled in favour of the Aadhaar Act stating that Aadhaar is mandatory only for filing income tax returns and for the allotment of PAN. It won’t be essential for opening bank accounts or getting SIM cards from telecom operators.
The Aadhaar Case hearings went on for 38 days — the second-longest hearing in India’s judicial history.
The Constitution bench had begun the final hearing on a batch of petitions on January, primarily on the grounds that the Aadhaar Act violated individuals right to privacy.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court had also asked Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to give a technical powerpoint presentation in order to identify the misgivings related to security of the data collected under the scheme and remove them.
At the presentation, the UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey claimed that, “It would take more than the age of the universe to break one encryption.”
The UIDAI had also mandated use of face recognition for Aadhaar authentication process.
[The development was reported by ET Tech]