Shifting from its earlier stand, Election Commission of India has filed a plea in Supreme Court, requesting to make seeding of 12-digit unique identity number with all voter cards mandatory. The panel, which has always remained in favour of linking Aadhaar with Voter ID, had earlier said that its seeding will be voters’ voluntary decision, Indian Express reports. In its plea, the EC has said that seeding of Aadhaar will prevent voters from keeping multiple voter IDs, therefore preventing voter fraud. Passed in March 2017, the UIDAI Act has made Aadhaar seeding mandatory for almost services.
In February 2015, under the tenure of then CEC H S Brahma, the top poll body had started the exercise of linking Aadhaar with the Electors Photo Identity Cards (or EPIC). The poll body had also issued guidelines for linking EPIC with Aadhaar as part of the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP). However, the EC changed its opinion after AK Joti took charge as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
Later, the exercise was suspended after Supreme Court restricted the use of Aadhaar to Public Distribution System (PDS), LPG and kerosene distribution. By then, the EC had already linked 38 crore voter cards to Aadhaar, the report says.
In July 2017, when Nasim Zaidi was the CEC, the poll body filed a fresh plea in the court, asking to resume the seeding of Adhaar with EPIC. However, the EC plea reportedly stated that no electoral service would be denied to voters on the ground that they were unable to seed their accounts with Aadhaar. Later, when Joti took over as the CEC, EC changed its opinion and filed a plea asking mandatory seeding of Aadhar.
Meanwhile, in a related development, it is reported that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has made the Aadhaar card mandatory for participation in all senior, junior, sub-junior and cadet tournaments. The wrestling body has taken the decision to curb age frauds during tournaments.