The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday also passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill that provides for linking of the voter card with Aadhaar on a voluntary basis, a day after it was passed by the Lok Sabha.
The Bill seeks linking of the voter card with Aadhaar on the ground that it will pave the way for "authentication of entries in the electoral rolls."
Sources in the government explained that the linking would solve a "major problem" of multiple enrolment of a person at different places and help in "cleaning" the voters' list to a great extent.
Besides the controversial linkage, the Bill makes the statues gender neutral by substituting the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to allow husbands of ‘service’ voters to cast their vote from the place where their wives are posted.
It also seeks to provide four qualifying dates—January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1—in a year for registration of voters, instead of a single qualifying date—January 1.
At the same time, the Bill makes it clear that "no application for inclusion of name in the electoral roll shall be denied and no entries in the electoral roll shall be deleted because of inability of an individual to furnish or intimate Aadhaar number". Such people will be allowed to furnish other alternative documents as may be prescribed.
Opposition members contested the Bill and walked out, insisting that it will impinge upon the privacy of the voters and potentially give voting privileges to non-citizens.
Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien has been suspended from Parliament for the rest of the session. He was accused of throwing the rulebook at the Chair, while the opposition was demanding a division of votes. They had moved a motion to send the Bill to a select committee, which was rejected by voice vote.
"The last time I got suspended from the House was when the government was BULLDOZING farm laws. We all know what happened after that. Today, suspended while protesting against BJP making a mockery of Parliament and BULLDOZING the Election Laws Bill 2021. Hope this Bill too will be repealed soon," O'Brien tweeted.
ALSO READAfter Akhilesh Yadav accuses Yogi govt of phone tapping, Priyanka Gandhi says her children's...
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)