Sunday, December 10, 2023

Election Commission says Aadhaar not mandatory for electoral roll authentication, assures Supreme Court of making necessary changes

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The Election Commission of India on Thursday apprised the Supreme Court that the submission of Aadhar number was not mandatory for electoral roll authentication of new voters under Rule 26-B of the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules 2022.

The Commission submitted an undertaking before the Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, stating that it would issue ‘appropriate’ clarificatory changes in Forms 6 and 6B (for Registration in E-Roll), which required details of Aadhaar number for registration in e-rolls.

Appearing for the electoral body, Senior Advocate Sukumar Pattjoshi, along with Advocate Amit Sharma, contended that nearly 66,23,00,000 Aadhar numbers had already been uploaded in the process of finalising electoral rolls.

The undertaking was filed in response to a petition highlighting issues with regards to Form 6 (Application Form for new voters) and Form 6B (Letter of Information of Aadhaar number for the purpose of electoral roll authentication) issued by the election body for verification of new voters.

Advocate Narender Rao Thaneer and AOR Shravan Kumar Karnam appeared for petitioner G. Niranjan, Senior Vice President of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee

The Apex Court disposed of the writ petition after taking into consideration the undertaking filed by the ECI.

The Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules 2022 was notified by the Central Government in June 2022 to provide for linking Aadhaar number with election ID cards. Form 6B is the application form by which a voter can inform the Aadhaar number for the purpose of electoral roll authentication.

These Rules were framed pursuant to the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which provided for voluntary linking of Aadhaar and voter cards. As per the law, linking Aadhaar with voter cards is not mandatory.

Another petition is pending in the Supreme Court challenging the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules 2022.

(Case title: G Niranjan vs Election Commission of India)

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