From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Mains level : Issue over Mandatory Aadhaar
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to link electoral rolls to the Aadhaar number has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha.
Key Provisions of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021
(1) Aadhaar authentication:
- The Bill seeks to empower electoral officers to seek Aadhaar number of people, who want to register as voters, for establishing their identity.
- It also seeks to allow the electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers from persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in the electoral roll.
- This would also aim to identify registration of the name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency.
(2) Aadhaar linking with Voter ID
- Linking Aadhaar with voter ID will be voluntary.
- The amendment makes it clear that no application shall be denied and no entries in the electoral roll shall be deleted for the inability to produce Aadhaar number.
- Such people will be allowed to furnish other documents as may be prescribed.
(3) Amendments to the RP Act for new voter registration
- Section 23 of the RP Act, 1950 will be amended to allow linking of electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem to curb the menace of multiple enrolments.
- Amendment to section 14 of the RP Act, 1950 will allow having four qualifying dates for eligible people to register as voters, instead of one that is January 1 at present.
- As of now, people who turn 18 on or before January 1 can register as voters but those turning 18 after January 1 wait for the whole year to get registered.
- The Bill proposes to make the 1st day of January, 1st day of April, 1st day of July, and 1st day of October as the qualifying dates.
(4) Imbibing gender neutrality
- An amendment to section 20 of the RP Act, 1950 and section 60 of the RP Act, 1951 seeks to make the elections gender-neutral for service voters.
- The amendment will also replace the word ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to make the statutes gender-neutral.