On Monday, a Bill to connect electoral roll data with Aadhaar ecosystem and bring other poll reforms was passed by Lok Sabha following a brief debate amid demand by the opposition to pass it to a standing committee.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju is the one directing Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021. The bill was passed by a voice vote with opposition members asserting that the action to link Aadhaar number with electoral roll with would violate privacy and could even permit non-citizens of India to vote.
Disagreements in Lok Sabha
Congress member Shashi Tharoor said in Lok Sabha said “So, if you are in a position where you are asking Aadhaar for voters, all you are getting is a document that reflects residence. It does not reflect any proof of citizenship. Therefore, you are potentially giving the right to vote to non-citizens.”
Apart from linking Aadhar to electoral roll, the bill also tries to make the statutes gender neutral by replacing the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to permit working husbands to cast their vote from the place where their wives are posted.
About the bill
The bill is looking to amend the Representation of the People Act which would allow Aadhaar numbers to be used for registration of voters “for the purpose of establishing the identification.” It also proposes to replace the word “wife” with “spouse” to make the Representation of the People Act gender-neutral.
According to the bill, no application will be denied and no existing entries in electoral rolls will be deleted for inability to submit Aadhaar numbers. Besides, other documents will be allowed to be submitted for establishing identity. In the Rajya Sabha, Kiren Rijiju had made a full fledged plan to introduce the Mediation Bill.
Also, the bill provides for four qualifying dates — January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 — in a year for registration of voters, in lieu of a single qualifying date — January 1.
Aim of the Bill
The Bill is expected to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for the resolution of disputes.
The law that is put forward search to provide for a body for the registration of mediators, encourage community mediation and make online mediation an acceptable and cost-effective process.