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EC Changes Stand on Linking Aadhaar with Voter Cards, Asks Supreme Court to Make It Mandatory

Election Commission justified the shift in its stand on the ground that the government has passed the Aadhaar Act, and Aadhaar can also help ensure that each person has only one vote and, thus, prevent voter fraud, Indian Express reported.

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Updated:March 11, 2018, 8:01 PM IST
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EC Changes Stand on Linking Aadhaar with Voter Cards, Asks Supreme Court to Make It Mandatory
File image of Election Commission office in New Delhi.
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New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has filed an application in the Supreme Court, seeking that voter identification cards linking with Aadhaar be made mandatory.

This a reversal from the institution’s earlier stand in the court where it supported the position that the Aadhaar linking process should be voluntary, the Indian Express reported.

EC justified the shift in its stand on the ground that the government has passed the Aadhaar Act, and Aadhaar can also help ensure that each person has only one vote and, thus, prevent voter fraud, it reported.

The Aadhaar Act, which was passed in March 2017 and notified in July, has made linking of Aadhaar with all official documents mandatory.

The process of linking Aadhaar with Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) began in February 2015. On February 27, 2015, EC issued guidelines for linking EPIC as part its National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) which was launched on March 3, 2015. However, it had been suspended after the apex court ruled that Aadhaar linking should be limited to the Public Distribution System (PDS), LPG and kerosene distribution. The poll panel had managed to link 38 crore EPICs by then.

The EC led by Nasim Zaidi filed an application to resume the process on July 4, 2017. But they clarified to the court that linking was not compulsory. It also stated that no voters would be denied on the ground that they had not furnished their Aadhaar number.

However, after Zaidi was succeeded by Achal Kumar Joti, EC filed a fresh application in the SC, changing its position on Aadhar linking.

Joti’s successor, O P Rawat, confirmed the change in the poll panel’s stand to the Indian Express. However, he clarified that voters who are already enrolled and eligible but do not have Aadhaar cards will not suffer on account of the change in stand.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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