Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote to the Election Commission on Friday flagging his party’s concerns over voter ID-Aadhaar linking.
In his letter, Yechury said with all the previous electoral mis-practices with regard to Aadhaar, the lack of consultations with political parties before the start of this process is concerning.
“The lack of all due procedures from Election Commission of India and a hasty process to link Aadhaar of every voter will lead to incidents that have previously occurred like the deletion of genuine voters, he said.
The lack of data security, voter deletions and subjecting the data with the Election Commission to various state surveillance databases is violative of the Representation of People’s Act, he said.
“It is the duty of the Election Commission of India to investigate these serious lapses in voter deletions and data breaches that occurred. The Election Commission of India is mandated to protect the constitutional rights of the voters. Until the Election Commission produces an investigation report into these incidents, and comes out with a clear checks and balances this linking exercise must be kept under abeyance, he wrote.
Yechury demanded that the Election Commission must delete all the Aadhaar data collected before the amendments to the Representation of People’s Act in 2021 allowing this linking procedure.
“As the officials have carried the previous linking without due information to the voters, we demand that every voter whose Aadhaar was already linked with voter ID be notified. As this entire linking exercise is voluntary, the voters should be allowed to exercise their right to de-link their Aadhaar, he said.
The entire technical process, privacy policies, including code and manuals for linking and delinking of Aadhaar-voter ID needs to be published and shared with all political parties and public before this exercise starts, he said.
With the lack of a data protection law, Yechury said they opposed any potential sharing of voter IDs linked with Aadhaar with the Ministry of Home Affairs either for the purpose of building the National Intelligence Grid database, the National Population Registry, the National Registry of Citizens and any new and upcoming databases of birth and death registries.
We oppose usage of this data collected only for electoral purposes to be used for other purposes and demand a purpose limitation for this data. The Election Commission of India must ensure the need for privacy practices. The purpose of this data collection and usage has to be limited only for de-duplication of voters and that too cannot be mandatory, he said.
The linking of Aadhaar numbers with the electoral roll began on August 1 with the Election Commission introducing a new Form 6B for the purpose.
The Election Commission has introduced the new form with an aim to weed out duplicate entries in the electoral roll. However, furnishing of Aadhaar number is purely voluntary.
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