The Election Commission of India (EC) has informed the Supreme Court that it has already uploaded nearly 66.23 crore Aadhaar cards in the process of finalising the electoral rolls.
However, the EC told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud that the submission of Aadhaar number was not mandatory under the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules 2022.
“Aadhaar number is not mandatory under Rule 26-B of the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules 2022 and hence the Election Commission is looking into issuing appropriate clarificatory changes in the forms introduced for that purpose,” the EC, represented by senior advocate Sukumar Pattjoshi, submitted.
The EC was addressing the court in a petition filed by G. Niranjan, represented by advocate Sravan Kumar, alleging that voters cannot be forced to submit their Aadhaar numbers to the poll body for seeding/authentication of electoral rolls.
Rather than making the disclosure of Aadhaar number mandatory, a voter should be given the opportunity to exercise his/her right of choice, the petition argued.
“Besides, there is a possibility of misusing the personal data of voters who have submitted their Aadhaar numbers,” the petitioner alleged.
The petition had challenged a notification issued by the Union government amending the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960.
The notification had introduced ‘The Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules, 2022’ which had brought in special provisions requiring voters to provide their Aadhaar numbers.