IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021

29th December, 2021 Polity


Figure 2: No Copyright Infringement Intended


  • The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to link electoral rolls to Aadhaar number has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha.


  • It allows electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers of applicants wanting to register as voters to establish the identity of the applicant.
  • It also seeks to allow the officers to ask for the number from
    • persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in electoral roll,
    • to identify registration of name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency.
  • 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 Aadhaar number.
  • People who cannot furnish their Aadhaar numbers will be allowed to present other documents to establish identity.


Issues with linking of Aadhar with voters id:

Unknown Methodology: 

  • The general public is unaware of the ECI’s process for locating duplicate voters using Aadhaar. The information is also not in the public domain.

Lack of Privacy: 

  • The State Resident Data Hub (SRDH) was built by the UIDAI to provide information on inhabitants to states.
  • The SRDH includes data on state inhabitants provided by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) or acquired further by state governments. The SRDH is now maintained by private companies.

Data Ambiguity: 

  • While the UIDAI was forced to refrain from collecting data on caste, religion, and other sensitive information for Aadhaar, it advised states to do so if necessary. Implementation becomes ambiguous as a result of this.


  • While the ECI’s purpose and independence are debatable, exposing crucial electoral registers to surveillance software undermines the principle of universal adult suffrage.
  • As a result, voting suppression and disenfranchisement become a problem.

Lack of Secrecy:

  • The use of smartphones in elections for face recognition, voter identification, Aadhaar number, and phone number authentication undermines the “secret ballot.”

Increase in Frauds: 

  • Linking Aadhaar will be fruitless in a context where the involvement of money makes a mockery of the democratic process. Malware may also be used to manipulate the outcome of an election via e-voting.

Against Electoral Integrity: 

  • While the Bill does not look into large-scale e-voting, there is an issue of ensuring electoral integrity.

Illegal Benefits to Political Parties: 

  • A connection between Aadhaar and voter ID would also assist political parties in creating voter profiles and influencing the voting process.
  • The ability for political parties in power to utilize data for elections will be made simpler by online trends on election day and micro-targeting voters using their data.

Advantage to Ruling Party: 

  • A ruling coalition will always have an advantage with the data it possesses. An example is of the Chief Ministers from certain States being asked to get the data of the beneficiaries of welfare schemes.

Issues with Aadhaar: 

  • The way Aadhaar has been pushed across the country has been undemocratic and unconstitutional since its inception.
  • Aadhaar itself has several fake and duplicate names, which has been widely documented.


Need for link:

Cleaning of electoral rolls:

  • The government has said that the bill sought to address the Election Commission (EC)’s concern over identifying duplicate voters so as to clean up the rolls, and that the linking is designed to do exactly that.

Improved accessibility to voting:

  • With over 300 million migrant workers across the country, the Voter ID-Aadhaar linking will allow the EC to track them and allow them to participate in elections in their home states.

Preventing voter fraud: 

  • Since Aadhaar information is linked to biometrics, which cannot be replicated, the EC had contended that voter fraud on the basis of this information would be very difficult. Voter cards linked with biometrics would be difficult to falsify.


Earlier attempt of Election Commission:

  • Earlier, in 2015, the EC had launched a pilot programme, the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme, to use Aadhaar information to remove duplicate voters from the electoral rolls. 
  • The Supreme Court had stayed this action till it adjudicated whether it would violate citizens’ privacy.


About need for clean electoral rolls:

  • The electoral roll is the foundation of the integrity of the entire election process. 
  • No doubts should be allowed to cloud its credibility.
  • Every political party wants clean rolls. 


Way forward:

  • Political parties should have been taken into confidence on how it is being attempted. 
  • Other electoral reforms need to be undertaken simultaneously to give a confidence to the voter.