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Editorial of the Day (9th Mar): ECI Suggests changes in RPA


  • The Election Commission of India (EC) has proposed changes to the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
  • These changes aim to remove the requirement for voters to explain why they choose not to link their Aadhaar number with their voter ID.

Union Law Ministry’s Response

  • The Union Law Ministry has declined the EC’s proposal to amend the Act.
  • The ministry points out that the Supreme Court did not specify any amendment to the RP Act, of 1950.
  • Instead, the ministry advises the EC to issue guidelines clarifying that Aadhaar linkage is voluntary.

Supreme Court’s Stance

  • The Supreme Court directed the EC to make clarifications in voter enrolment forms that linking Aadhaar is not mandatory.
  • Despite the EC’s efforts to comply, a contempt plea was rejected by the Supreme Court, citing the EC’s assurances of addressing the concerns.
  • The Supreme Court in 2018 acknowledged privacy as a fundamental right but allowed its restriction under specific conditions.

EC’s Proposal Details

  • The EC suggested modifying Sections 23(6) and 28(2)(hhhb) of the RP Act, 1950 to omit the “sufficient cause” clause.
  • For new voter enrolment forms, the EC requested changes to ensure no voter is compelled to declare the absence of an Aadhaar number.

Background of Aadhaar Linking

  • The EC began linking voter IDs with Aadhaar in 2015 but halted the process after a Supreme Court ruling.
  • By 2015, 38 crore voter cards were already linked with Aadhaar.

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Legislative Changes and Current Status

  • Following the apex court’s order, the RP Act, 1950 was amended to empower the EC to use Aadhaar data for voter list verification.
  • The EC resumed collecting Aadhaar numbers voluntarily through Form-6B in 2022.
  • As of Feb 2024, India has 96.99 crore electors.
  • The EC has collected 66.23 crore Aadhaar details (around 68%) as of Sep 2023.
  • Aadhaar details haven’t been linked to Voter IDs for duplicate checking yet.
  • The deadline for linking Aadhaar with Voter IDs has been extended to March 31, 2024.

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