New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC), which is known to be in favour of linking voter IDs with Aadhaar numbers, is all set to take a final decision in the matter, ThePrint has learnt.
According to highly placed sources in the EC, the matter is in the final stages of consideration and a decision could be taken soon. The EC is supposed to respond to the Delhi High Court in this regard in eight weeks.
Earlier this week, the Delhi High Court had asked the poll watchdog to decide on the possibility of linking election identity cards with Aadhaar numbers in accordance with law.
While the poll watchdog’s legal division is still looking into the issue, the commission is said to be in favour of the linkage as a way to weed out fake and duplicate voters from the electoral process.
“We are in favour of the idea but also studying how recent amendments to the Aadhaar Act may affect this linkage,” a senior EC official said.
Internet, proxy voting
In addition to weeding out fake or duplicate voters, the EC is of the view that Aadhaar linkage with the Electoral Photo ID Card (EPIC) will also enable internet voting by domestic migrants and proxy polling on behalf of non-resident Indians.
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The EC had, earlier this year, sought views of retired Supreme Court Judge Vikramjit Sen in this regard. As reported by ThePrint, Sen had told the commission that the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with voter IDs is necessary and desirable in order to ensure that “anti-social elements” do not vitiate the polling process by casting multiple votes.
Last year, after the Supreme Court ruled that Aadhaar could only be made mandatory for PAN cards, filing income tax returns and for welfare schemes, the EC had reportedly begun preparing for mandatory linking of voter IDs with the 12-digit biometric number.
In 2015, the EC had launched the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP), which involved voluntary Aadhaar-voter ID linking in order to prepare an “error-free, purified and authenticated electoral roll”.
However, soon after the Aadhaar ran into legal trouble over questions pertaining to privacy and the matter reached the apex court, the programme was stopped. At the time, it had covered nearly 380 million voters.
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