May 20, 2015
We are herewith releasing the text of the letter addressed today to the Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi by CPI(M) General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury on the linkage of Voter ID Card details with Aadhar data base.
Dear Dr. Nasim Zaidi,
I am writing to you expressing my serious concern, based on the reports we are receiving from various quarters of our country that the state election officers have sent out teams like those who do the voter enumeration to collect the Aadhar card details of the voters. Those who have provided the details, I am informed, have also received SMS messages that they no longer require to produce their electoral cards while casting their vote.
Though the Election Commssion (EC) has some time ago clarified through a press communiqué that the Aadhar Card detail are voluntary and not a compulsory requirement for being enrolled on the voters list, this practice as I mentioned above seems to suggest that the EC has decided in making the Aadhar card as a mandatory requirement for the exercise of franchise.
You are aware that the honourable Supreme Court of India has passed a verdict that the Aadhar card cannot be made compulsory for the exercise of franchise, apart from others. The Indian Parliament is yet to enact a legislation on this score.
Under these circumstances, it is indeed very strange that the electoral officers are conducting such an exercise conveying such an impression.
Further, the data collected by the Election Commission and linking it up with the Aadhar card of every voter is a huge data base, possibly the largest data base in any country of the world, which could be put to illegal use for discriminating against a section of bonafide citizens on grounds that are patently proscribed by our Constitution. I am sure that the Election Commission of India would not lend itself for such a gross abuse of the data base it possesses of the Indian electorate through such linking up with the Aadhar Card.
I am requesting you once again to reiterate that the Aadhar Card is not mandatory for the exercise of franchise and to ensure the sanctity of the data base collected by the ECI from being possibly misused. This may be done through a media release and directions to the officials of the ECI and the state election commissions.
Given the current misapprehensions on this score, may I request to clarify the ECI’s position with urgency on this score.
Dr. Nasim Zaidi
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
No to Aadhar-Voter ID Linkage
May 20, 2015