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Election Commission likely to resume voluntary linkage of Aadhaar with voter IDs

The poll panel is currently studying the Supreme Court’s order on Wednesday that ruled Aadhaar is mandatory for filing of income tax returns (ITR) and allotment of Permanent Account Number.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2018 23:28 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aadhaar,Aadhaar verdict,Election Commission
A general view of Election Commission in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

The Election Commission (EC) might resume the process of linking Aadhaar number to the election photo identification card (EPIC) on a voluntary basis, an official aware of the developments said on Wednesday. EPIC or voter card issued to Indian citizens above 18 by the poll panel serves as an identity proof and is required for identification during polling.

The Election Commission is currently studying the Supreme Court’s order on Wednesday that ruled Aadhaar is mandatory for filing of income tax returns (ITR) and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN).

“The commission will ensure there is no adverse remark vis-à-vis linking Aadhaar number to the EPIC. Once that concern is addressed, the commission is likely to issue a notification over the course of next week to inform the public that those who wish to link the two can do so either online or at the registered polling stations,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

The process of linking the two will not be mandatory, the polling body official said.

In February 2015, the election commission had issued guidelines for linking EPIC with Aadhaar as part of the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP). After linking the details of over 33 crore voters, the process was stopped when the Supreme Court stayed the operation, after it started hearing a bunch of petitions on the extent of Aadhaar’s usage.

“Linking the two will help clean the electoral rolls and avoid bogus or duplicate entries. It will also be of help to service voters or migrant voters for whom the process of electronic voting can be initiated. For these voters, Aadhaar will verify their identity using biometric data,” the official explained.

The commission is exploring the possibility of two-way electronic voting and internet voting, at a later stage, after amending the Representation of People Act, 1951. Migrant workforce that is not allowed to vote from distant locations is likely to benefit the most, EC officials said.

First Published: Sep 26, 2018 23:28 IST