The Election Law Amendment Bill, which linked the voter card with the Aadhaar number, was passed by the Parliament recently, despite opposition from the opposition parties. The government has its own arguments in support of this, while the opinion of experts is divided. On all aspects related to this bill, Puneet Bhasin, an expert in cyber and technology-related laws, has answered the 5 most important questions.
Question: Recently, Parliament approved the bill linking the voter list with the Aadhaar number. The government claims that with this the voter list will be more transparent and fake voters will be removed. Your opinion?
Answer: Your voter ID contains all the information. It has a name, address, and contacts whereas an Aadhar card is used to get your bank account, mobile and avail other government facilities, etc. As you see, this is happening in almost all the developed countries. Ours is a very different kind of country. People of different caste and religions live there. The population is also large and the geographical conditions are also different. Our country has a very high crime case rate and a very low conviction rate in comparison. If the Aadhaar card is linked with the voter list, then identification of fake voters will become easier and many other loopholes will be removed.
Question: The opposition alleges that this will violate the fundamental rights and the right to privacy given by the constitution of the voters. How much do you agree?
Answer: Some people feel that this will violate our privacy. But if you look, you will find whether it is Google or Facebook, or WhatsApp. They have the data of all the users available. From your e-mail to your every information is reaching them and we also allow them without any hesitation. But you are afraid that if the data goes to the government somewhere, then there will be a big problem. There is no fear of data going to private companies but you are afraid that if this data goes to an elected government, trouble and trouble may arise. People do not even have an idea of what and how these foreign companies can use these data. Therefore, the bill that the government has brought, its intention behind this is to keep an eye on such companies and also to set some guidelines regarding them.
Question: How many possibilities are there for its misuse because the Election Commission will have the details of personal information of crores of voters?
Answer: When you go to the bank, go to the airport or do any digital transaction or property transfer or get a new SIM card, then you have to give your Aadhaar number. So where is the matter of privacy? Your other data is also linked with Aadhaar. You do not have any problem with this, but if this is included in the electoral list, then you are in trouble. Anyway, all your information is linked with Aadhaar. Nothing happens today without an Aadhar card. It doesn’t matter whether it is associated with the voter list or not. Anyway, the Election Commission is a constitutional body and we should trust it. Anyway, at the time of making a new voter ID card, people give only Aadhar numbers as proof of residence. So the Aadhar number of a large number of people is already present with the commission. I don’t think anyone can misuse it. Anyway, the data related to Aadhaar is almost already available with the government. He is not going to achieve any major achievement by adding him to the voter list. Yes, it will definitely happen that fake voters will be identified and they can be removed from the list.
Question: What is your opinion about the constitutional validity of this bill? This law was made after the Supreme Court did not allow the Election Commission to do so.
Answer: As far as its constitutional validity is concerned, citizens in every country have their own unique identity card. Its names may be different. We have aadhar number here. The government has master data through which the benefits of various schemes are given to the citizens. As technology advances, the laws should also be in line with the times and according to the times. When this matter goes to court, it will examine every aspect of it and decide whether it is constitutional or not. I will not say anything about this.
Question: Some privacy-friendly experts claim that this law can prove to be dangerous for democracy. Your opinion?
Answer: Big companies are taking data related to the citizens of the country. We should worry more about it. It should be feared. Don’t be afraid of the government or the election commission.