New Delhi: The Union Government introduced the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Lok Sabha on Monday, and after much opposition from Congress MPs the bill has been passed in Lok Sabha. The Bill has the provision of linking electoral rolls with the Aadhaar card. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju further introduced amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1950, and the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The amendment would allow the Aadhaar number to be used for registration of voters “for the purpose of establishing the identification,” as per a report by IANS. The amendment also aims at introducing gender-neutral terms in the Representation of the People Act by replacing the word “wife” with “spouse.”
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Dismissing the apprehensions of the opposition on the bill as “baseless”, the Rijiju said opposition members were “misinterpreting” the Supreme Court judgment on personal liberty.
“The opposition has not understood the objectives of the bill. This will make the election process more credible,” he said.
The minister said the government is attempting to stop bogus voting and that is why the House should support the bill.”The bill fully qualifies the Supreme Court judgement,” he said.
However, the opposition parties led by Congress opposed the bill, saying it will infringe on the fundamental rights of citizens.
Opposing the bill, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demanded that the bill must be sent to the standing committee concerned for scrutiny.
He claimed that the bill will curb the people’s personal liberty.
“We don’t have the data protection laws. You can’t bulldoze such a bill on people,” he said.
As reported by the Hindu, this change was made to seek redress discrimination against male spouses female armed services employees.
The amendment specified that “no application for inclusion of name in the electoral roll shall be denied and no entries in the electoral roll shall be deleted for inability of an individual to furnish or intimate Aadhaar number due to such sufficient cause as may be prescribed,” reported as the Hindu.
The amendment would allow the officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers from people who were already registered for the purpose of authentication of entries in the electoral roll.
For people who would not be able to furnish their Aadhaar number at the moment will be allowed to produce other documents to authenticate their identity.
As per the Bill circulated to the Lok Sabha members ahead of its introduction Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 was amended to have four qualifying dates for registration of eligible voters in the electoral roll. Earlier January 1 of every year was the only qualifying date.
As per the amendment now four qualifying dates will be there — January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1, as per the report.
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