Home   »   Analysis of Sansad TV Discussion: The...

Analysis of Sansad TV Discussion: The Election Law Amendment Act 2021

Analysis of Sansad TV Discussion: The Election Law Amendment Act 2021

Relevance

”GS 2: Representation of People’s Act”

Context

The Lok Sabha on 21 December passed The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Now the bill become an act. The Act seeks to link electoral roll data and voter ID cards with the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Background

A Parliamentary Standing Committee report on demands of grants of the Law Ministry had been advocating linkage of unique Aadhaar ID Card numbers with voter I-card which would streamline alterations in EPIC during change of ordinary residence by the electors. The incidence of multiple entries could also be eliminated which is required in participative democracy.

What Changes did this Act bring?

  • The Act amends the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to implement certain electoral reforms.
  • The 1950 Act provides for the allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections, qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rolls.
  • The 1951 Act provides for the conduct of elections, and offences and disputes related to elections.

Key Features of the Act

  • The Act provides for amendment of section 23 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1950, enabling the linking of electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem.
  • The change is being suggested to address two issues;
    a. curb the menace of multiple enrolment of the same person in different places
    b. Stop bogus voting and fraudulent votes
  • The Act suggest for an amendment to Section 14 of the RP Act that will allow four “qualifying” dates for eligible people to register as voters.
  • The Act also seeks to designate April 1, July 1 and October 1 as qualifying dates in addition to January 1 for the enrolment of 18-year-olds as voters. As of now, only those who turned 18 on or before January 1 of every year are allowed to register as voters.
  • The Act aims to bring Gender Neutrality with the amendment to Section 20 of the RP Act, 1950 and Section 60 of the RP Act, 1951.
  • This change will allow the elections to become gender-neutral for service voters. Service voters are those serving in the armed forces, armed police forces of a state serving outside it and government employees posted outside India.
  • The amendment replaced the word “wife” with the word “spouse” making the statutes “gender-neutral.”

How Government dealt with hurdles?

  • The government has clarified associated concerns and queries regarding the Bill that pose the questions on “linking of Aadhar” and raise the “fear of Mass Disenfranchisement.”
  • The government states that the proposed linkage between the Aadhaar and election database is purely voluntary.
  • Moreover, no application for inclusion of name in the electoral roll shall be denied and no entries in the electoral roll shall be deleted for the inability of an individual to furnish or intimate Aadhaar numbers.

Why this Act is important?

  • The Act incorporates various electoral reforms that have been discussed for a long time.
  • Linking Aadhaar with electoral rolls will solve the problem of multiple enrolments of the same person at different places.
  • Once the Aadhaar linkage is achieved, the electoral roll data system will instantly alert the existence of previous registration(s) whenever a person applies for new registration.
  • This will help in cleaning the electoral roll to a great extent and facilitate elector registration in the location at which they are ‘ordinarily resident’.

Sharing is caring!