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India

Centre Announces Voting Reforms Ahead Of Elections, Allows Aadhaar Linked Voter Id And 4 Attempts To Register

As part of the reform, just like PAN and Aadhaar card linking, seeding of the Aadhaar card with one's voter ID or electoral card will now be allowed to root out multiple enrolments.

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Image used for Representational Purpose Only. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Based on the recommendations of the Election Commission, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill on electoral reforms, allowing linking of Aadhaar to voter ID card. In a move to reform the electoral process ahead of the upcoming elections in 2022, the government will allow the Election Commission to seed the Aadhaar number with electoral rolls on a voluntary basis.

As part of the reform, just like PAN and Aadhaar card linking, seeding of the Aadhaar card with one’s voter ID or electoral card will now be allowed to root out multiple enrolments. However, unlike the former, this will be done on a voluntary basis, in accordance with the right to privacy judgment of the Supreme Court and a test of proportionality.

According to the bill cleared by the Cabinet, the electoral law will be made “gender-neutral” for service voters. As per the existing provisions of the electoral provisions, an army man’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not.

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However, in relation to the current provision, ECI had asked the law ministry to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ in the provision in the Representation of the People Act related to service voters to make the law “gender-neutral” for service voters.

Another provision of the bill will allow new voters to enroll on four different dates every year, starting from January 1. First-time voters turning 18 will now have the chance to register four times a year with four different cut-off dates. Until now, they were allowed to do this only once a year till now.

Another proposal in the reforms will allow the Election Commission to take over any premise for the conduct of elections overruling objections to taking over schools as polling booths. This provision is likely to solve the issue of the objections raised by election premises during the time of elections.

(With inputs from PTI)