The nation needs to review some decisions on electronic linking of documents. It is not a matter of mere
individual privacy but leakages of secrecy of critical information threatening national security as well.
The linking of aadhar with different kind of transactions is fraught with many risks and has also linkages
with the increasing cyber frauds. Rushing through The Elections Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, by voice
vote on December 22 possibly was not needed. The Lok Sabha should have considered the aspects
pertaining to its aspects of requirements and national security as also if a voter could be targeted.
Most of the changes are due to bureaucratic fancies and not so much for a deep political thought
The government, the opposition and the entire civil society need to discuss the provisions of this
significant bill in the light of the possibilities of wide and clandestine misuse of say revelation of how
one votes. The government may incorporate steps that would effectively prevent its misuse. The
nefarious forces are always sharper and know how to use a system best for themselves and bully the
system itself threatening security.
The push to linking Aadhaar with voter IDs is not new. Neither is the criticism. The Election
Commission had started linking the two in 2015. It had already completed the process for around 30
crore IDs when the initiative was stayed by the Supreme Court as part of a case about the
constitutionality of Aadhaar.
The aadhar may have emerged virtually as a citizen’s identity document. But allowing it to be linked to
all kinds of functions electronically has serious lacunae. The government must take the citizen’s concern
with utmost seriousness. The aadhar and PAN together reveal the secrets of an individual, including his
bank details and other critical information that need protection.
The increasing cyber fraud has possible linkage with this. Since unscrupulous get easy access to critical
information, it needs to be taken seriously and studied how this is happening, Similarly though the move
of the EC looks pious, the fault lies with its implementation. All laws have good intention but
parliamentary discussion is needed to weed out the faultlines. The nation needs to reconsider its security
threats and call for complete review of the process. The bill needs to be reconsidered.
Any citizen or political party, including the ruling one, has concerns about the duplication of voters. But
it does not require an aadhar to do it. The EC has its procedures and it has been doing it regularly.
Linking to it aadhar makes the job of officials do it in a lethargic manner, not necessarily in an effective
or efficient way. The 2021 bill envisages major changes in Section 23 of the Representation of the
People’s Act. It includes new clauses authorizing electoral registration officers to seek aadhar number of
people. It also adds that it could seek aadhar number of all those who are enrolled though the provision
is seemingly “voluntary”, as per assertion of MoS Home Kiren Rijiju.
The nation has observed that the word “voluntary” is a mere ruse for official pressurization to deny the
basic benefits, a coercive method, and make aadhar compulsive. Yes, initially aadhar enrolment itself
was “voluntary”. But now even a cyber fraud insists on it because it gives him secret details that the
aaadhar and PAN combinations provide including the savings and other details helping target victims
with accuracy. Many individuals in the NCR are reported to have lost a crore each or more to such
Having aadhar as an independent instrument is fine but when it is linked digitally it becomes a weapon
for fraudsters. A detailed review of this is a must before further linking aadhar with various other
documents. Ultimately if precaution is not taken it might affect the security of the state.
The Supreme Court’s 2015 decision must have emanated from these concerns. In 2015, when the
Election Commission linked Aadhaar to the voter ID list, about 55 names were deleted from the voter
database of two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It revealed that aadhar itself had many faults.
The main legal objection to the Voter ID linkage is related to a possible breach of the Supreme Court
ruling in Justice Puttaswamy’s case. A nine-judge bench in 2017 passed a significant judgment
upholding the constitutional fundamental right to privacy.
But now if voter ID-aadhar is linked it can record how a person votes. Though the EC can say it is secret
document, it is observed that there is nothing secret in a digitized world. The leakage of this secrecy can
have more deleterious effect than the mere issue of bogus voting. It can provide nation’s detractors a
potential weapon to target such people who may not vote as per their desire. Such people or future
voters and leaders can be intimidated. Hypothetically even a political party can be targeted.
The law does not say that the ballot machine would not have such linkages. If even in the remotest way
this happens, it would defeat the very purpose of eliminating bogus voters.
In the haste and enthusiasm, the law may have been worded in a way that is not its purpose. While the
spirit of the drafting of the law remains appropriate, the implementation may lead to potential threats not
envisaged in the law. The digital linkage can go beyond and may become a tool in the hands of state’s
inimical forces or terrorism-linked outfits. It is a bit far-reaching thought but worth considering for its
The innocuous aspects of the present law must be purged before the law could be part of the Statute
book. The law makers have to seriously discuss all aspects and its impact to sharpen it to avoid any
possibility of its misuse. As of now it seems that potentiality of intimidation may be high,
It would be also useful to study the new bill in the light of the Ashwani Upadhya’s PIL in Delhi High
Court seeking to put in place aadhar-based e-voting system. He wants to simplify the system. But in a
vast country one yet does not know whether it would help the state or not.
For mere easing of a process, the country must not be thrown into the possibility of a chaotic misuse of
its own security.
Let us just take the most necessary precaution so that a good law does not become its own victim. Bogus
voters must be eliminated but for its sake a Pandora’s box must not be opened.