March 24, 2023

Lok Sabha passes poll reforms bill amid opposition protest over Aadhaar link | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A bill on major electoral reforms, including voluntary linkage of Aadhaar to election identities and providing multiple dates for voter registration, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday amid strong protests and demands by the opposition to refer the legislation to a standing committee.
The bill, opposition MPs said, was suddenly and hastily included in the supplementary list of business on Monday afternoon and was passed by a voice vote and the MPs alleged they were not given time to move any amendments even as they said the legislation was a violation of the Aadhaar Act. They have said the bill will be strongly opposed in the Rajya Sabha, which might take it up on Tuesday.
Law minister Kiren Rijiju, however, said the bill was an important electoral reform and already had the backing of a parliamentary standing committee with all-party representation, which had asked the government to expedite linking of Aadhaar with electoral roles as it would lead to “purifying” electoral rolls of fraud and duplication.

On Monday morning, all opposition parties had unanimously opposed the introduction of the bill and said it must be referred to a parliamentary standing committee. Congress MP Manish Tewari said the Aadhaar Act does not allow for linking of Aadhaar to voters list and is only intended to be used for the disbursal of financial benefits and such matters. Tewari also said it is beyond the legislative competence of the House to take up the bill. The government has held that the Aadhaar Act’s aims that it can be used for welfare and good governance enable such an electoral reform.

Times View

Important bills should not be rushed through in such a hurried and cavalier manner. Detailed discussions only help in fine tuning and improving them. Parliamentary proceedings are not a painful formality to be endured; they are the very essence of legislative procedure

TMC, on the other hand, said the bill was being brought to tamper with the voter list and violate voter rights. BSP, RSP and other opposition parties strongly opposed the bill linking Aadhaar with voters’ list too. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said Aadhaar is only proof of residence and not proof of citizenship, and the move to link it to voters list will be violation of fundamental rights.
Responding to the MPs’ concerns, Rijiju said the bill was in the interest of the state since it will rein in bogus voting. He also claimed that a standing committee had already examined and discussed the bill threadbare and BJP MP Nishikant Dubey responded to the politics of the bill, saying Bangladeshis and non-citizens must not be on the electoral roll.

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