The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a petition challenging the Centre’s decision to link electoral roll data with Aadhaar cards, reported PTI.
A division bench of Justices SK Kaul and Abhay S Oka was hearing the petition filed by Major General (retired) SG Vombatkere on Monday. Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioner, said that right to vote is one of the most sacred rights and it should not be denied if an individual lacks Aadhaar.
“The right to vote is one of the most sacred rights, and this legislation says if Aadhaar is there, then we have to furnish it before the election authorities,” thesaid, reported India Today. “And in case it’s not available, other alternatives can be given. This is contrary to the judgements passed by this court.”
The Union government had notified the law to link the electoral roll with Aadhaar under the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, on June 17. The law allows electoral registration officers to seek the Aadhaar numbers of citizens who want to register as voters to establish their identity.
The Union government had said in Parliament that this process would be voluntary. However, several voters have received calls from election officials telling them it was compulsory to link the two.
The government has argued that the linking of both IDs is meant to remove voters who register their names on the electoral rolls in multiple states.
In 2017, the Supreme Court had laid down certain criteria that had to be met to restrict the right to privacy. One such condition was proportionality – that the move must be necessary and must be the least intrusive.
“Your argument seems to be that those lacking Aadhaar should not be denied voting rights; or even those having Aadhaar, furnishing the same should not be compulsory,” the top court asked Divan on Monday. Agreeing with this, the senior counsel also cited the Puttaswamy judgement to argue that the right to privacy cannot be subverted.