• The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to link electoral rolls to Aadhaar number has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha.
• The Bill allows electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers of applicants wanting to register as voters to establish the identity of the applicant.
• It also seeks to allow the officers to ask for the number from “persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in electoral roll, and to identify registration of name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency”.
• People who cannot furnish their Aadhaar numbers will be allowed to present other documents to establish identity.
Various Sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951 will be amended:
• Section 23 of the RP Act, 1950 will be amended to allow linking of the roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem “to curb the menace of multiple enrolment of the same person in different places”.
• Amendment to Section 14 of the RP Act, 1950 will allow to have four “qualifying” dates for eligible people to register as voters. As of now, January 1 of every year is the sole qualifying date.
• Now, “the January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 in a calendar year” will be the qualifying dates in relation to the preparation or revision of electoral rolls.
• Amendment to Section 20 of the RP Act, 1950 and Section 60 of the RP Act, 1951 will allow the elections become gender-neutral for service voters. It will also help replace the word “wife” with the word “spouse” making the statutes “gender neutral”.
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Election Laws Amendment Bill 2021
Mains level: Key highlights of the bill