Deactivated Aadhaars won’t prevent people from voting: EC to TMC MPs delegation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Deactivated Aadhaars won’t prevent people from voting: EC to TMC MPs delegation

Feb 27, 2024 10:25 AM IST

EC said that the voters will be able to cast their ballot showing their voter id card or any of the other specified identity documents

A five-member delegation of Parliamentarians from the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) met top officials at the Election Commission of India (ECI) to raise the issue of deactivation of Aadhaar numbers in West Bengal on Monday, and ensure that those affected are not prevented from voting in the upcoming general elections.

The poll body assured that voters will not be stopped from practising their franchise if they don’t have an Aadhaar. (Representative file photo)
The poll body assured that voters will not be stopped from practising their franchise if they don’t have an Aadhaar. (Representative file photo)

The poll body assured the delegation that voters will not be stopped from practising their franchise if they don’t have an Aadhaar card.

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The delegation, led by Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, told chief election commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar and election commissioner Arun Goel that, “Aadhaar cards of thousands of people in West Bengal have been deactivated and/or omitted without due process of law”.

Also Read: UIDAI introduces passport-like verification for first-time Aadhaar applicants over 18 years

“According to our information, even today, 500 Aadhaar numbers have been deactivated. This is illegal. As per regulations, if Aadhaar is deactivated, there must be a field enquiry and a chance for the affected people to be heard. Without that, it is illegal. We requested the EC to make sure that irrespective of status of Aadhaar card, please make sure that people are not prevented from voting if they have other forms of ID such as voter card or ration card. The EC heard us patiently and said that nobody will be prevented from voting because of deactivation of Aadhaar,” Ray told media persons after the meeting.

In the memorandum submitted to the EC, the TMC said according to the block development officer (BDO) of Jamalpur said that people in Abhujati 1 and Jaugram Panchayats had received notices about deactivation of their Aadhaar numbers.

“According to local inquiry, so far approximately 50 citizens have received this notice in Jamalpur block,” TMC said.

According to the Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016, an Aadhaar can either be omitted (permanent) or deactivated (temporary).

In both cases, a field enquiry “may” be conducted which “may” include hearing the affected people.

In the memorandum submitted to the EC, TMC said, “Be it recorded that neither any field inquiry nor any personal hearing was afforded to the citizens whose Aadhaar cards have since been omitted/deactivated in violation of the aforesaid provisions of the Aadhaar Regulations of 2016 and also in contravention of the Principles of Natural Justice which is absolutely ex facie arbitrary. We refer this to you only because there is genuine apprehension of deletion of names of Aadhaar card holders from the electoral role whose names have been omitted/deactivated by the Aadhaar authorities illegally and without adhering to due process of law. In this situation, we seek your protection so that the affected persons are not debarred from casting their votes in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.”

Prasanna S, an advocate on record in the Supreme Court who had challenged the constitutionality of Aadhaar, said that such field enquiries cannot be considered optional.

“UIDAI also cannot hide behind a convenient reading of the regulations to say that it is only optional to conduct field enquiries. There have been several instances in various statutes and subordinate legislation where ‘may’ has been read to be mandatory. In this case, the parent statute specifies a rational, common-sense requirement of a basic enquiry to be optional,” he said.

The TMC did not ask EC if the poll body was in conversation with UIDAI about the deactivated Aadhaar, Ray told HT.

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