Why Asaduddin Owaisi thinks the Aadhaar-Voter ID link is absurd

According to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, which proposes to link Aadhaar data to electoral roll enrolment, violates the fundamental right to privacy. The new Bill empowers electoral registration officers to verify the identity of people wishing to register as voters by requesting their Aadhaar numbers.

In a letter to the secretary-general of the Lok Sabha, Owaisi stated that the government’s Bill, which is set to be introduced on Monday, proposes to make Aadhaar authentication mandatory. This, he claims, is a violation of the Supreme Court’s order restricting the use of Aadhaar to welfare schemes. Furthermore, subjecting voter registration to Aadhaar violates the independence and sanctity of the constitutional process because the responsibility of issuing voter IDs is carried out in pursuance of a constitutional purpose (elections) by an independent body (the Election Commission), according to the AIMIM chief.

Furthermore, he expressed concern that linking voter IDs and Aadhaar could jeopardise national security and individual privacy. To justify the statement, Owaisi pointed out that similar exercises in states had resulted in large-scale exclusions, and that it will also allow governments in power to suppress, disenfranchise, profile voters, and discriminate between beneficiaries of government schemes.

It will also violate the principles of secret voting, universal adult franchise, and free and fair elections, according to Owaisi.

Another reason Owaisi said he was opposed to the Bill was the absurdity of using an inferior and exclusionary identity project like Aadhaar to authenticate a simple and inclusive voter ID card. Owaisi questioned how an insecure and flaw-prone database could be used to authenticate a relatively secure and frequently updated database, claiming that the Aadhaar database contained more errors than the Elector’s Photo Identity Card database.

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