Centre for Internet & Society

The Election Commission’s plans to link Aadhaar with electoral rolls may have stirred a hornet’s nest.

The article was published in Bloomberg's Quint on December 16, 2018. Pranesh Prakash was quoted.

The commission plans to undertake the exercise to clean up electoral rolls—which need to be updated frequently to avoid duplication and errors, The Economic Times newspaper reported citing people aware of the matter. But with privacy concerns raised against the Aadhaar, is this the best way to achieve error-free voter data?

Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society, doesn’t think so. Using Aadhaar data without the consent of the user poses legal problems, he told BloombergQuint in a conversation. “For the Election Commission to link Aadhaar with citizens’ voter ID would require amending the law.”

It is questionable whether this will fall within the bounds that the SC has set for usage of Aadhaar.

Pranesh Prakash, Policy Director, Centre for Internet and Society

The former legal advisor of the Election Commission SK Mendiratta, however, brushed aside privacy concerns relating to the process. The Election Commission, according to him, is a constitutional body and can use information with the government to ensure purity of the electoral roll.

Reetika Khera, associate professor at Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, said this could be bad for voters. She cited the mass deletion of voters from electoral rolls in Telangana ahead of the recent elections, and urged that due process must be followed.

There are serious problems with the use of algorithmic approaches in various spheres. Aadhaar as a tool to clean up the electoral rolls is the problem.

Reetika Khera, Associate Professor, IIM Ahmedabad