oppn parties Linking Aadhaar With EPIC: A Long Overdue And Important Electoral Reform

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Gangster Vikas Dubey's 'encounter' raises several questions and the Yogi government is under fire for allegedly getting him killed in a 'staged' encounter to prevent the exposure of the nexus between criminals and the administration in the state
oppn parties
Linking Aadhaar With EPIC: A Long Overdue And Important Electoral Reform

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-02-19 21:36:13

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The NDA government is taking the bold step of empowering the Election Commission (EC) to link the voter's identification card or electoral photo identity card (EPIC) with the Aadhaar number. Since the Aadhaar Act will have to be amended to facilitate the same, the law ministry is preparing a note that will be submitted to the Union cabinet for approval. The EC had started linking the two in 2015 before the Supreme Court disallowed the same by restricting the use of Aadhaar.

This is a long overdue and important electoral reform. The EC has been pressing the government for linking EPIC with the unique identification number (UID) under Aadhaar ever since the Supreme Court allowed the same last year, allowing the government to make necessary amendments to the Aadhaar Act for the same. The major benefits of this linkage will be two-fold. 

It will allow the EC to sanitize the electoral rolls and delete duplicate and false entries to make it truly representative. But the biggest benefit will accrue to migrant workers or others who cannot make it to their polling booths on the day of voting. At present, the practice is for the voter to cast his vote only at the assigned polling booth (except for special cases like personnel of the armed forces and government servants on duty away from their place of residence, among others). When the EPIC is linked to the UID, such persons will be allowed to vote from the remote location after verifying their identity. The EC is working towards establishing a secure and electronic voting system to help such persons exercise their franchise.

It is clear that if people are not able to cast their vote on account of not being able to make it to the polling booth assigned to them, it is like disenfranchisement for them. Further, migrant workers normally take leave for a few days to visit their native place to cast their votes. This results in the expense of the journey and loss of earning for them for the number of days they are absent from work. It also results in loss of productivity for the units they work in. Further, from the electoral point of view, the chances of false votes being cast increase as local party workers are aware of the migrant status of most voters. Linking EPIC with UID will be a boon to such people. It will also be the first step towards using electronic, remote voting in the country and can perhaps usher in an era when voting from mobile phones will be available as an option to the voters.