Mandatory Aadhaar info in forms: SC won’t initiate contempt proceedings against ECI

Plea said that present forms compel the voter to provide Aadhaar though EC claims that submission of Aadhaar details is optional.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to initiate contempt action against officials of the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not modifying the forms which compel the voter to mandatorily provide their Aadhaar number.

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The poll body had earlier undertaken before the top court that it was looking into issuing “clarificatory changes in the forms” as linking Aadhaar numbers with electoral rolls is not mandatory under the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules 2022.

The contempt plea filed by the Congress’ Telangana unit Senior Vice President G. Niranjan alleged that even after having sufficient time, the ECI officials have not taken any steps to modify the forms, specifically Form 6 (Application Form for New Voters) and the Form 6B (Letter of Information of Aadhaar Number for the purpose of Electoral Roll Authentication).

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In an earlier round of litigation, responding to a writ petition filed by Niranjan, the ECI in September 2023 told the Supreme Court that submission of Aadhaar particulars was voluntary and over 66 crore Aadhaar numbers have already been uploaded in the process of finalising electoral rolls.

The plea said that the present forms compel the voter to provide Aadhaar number though the EC claims that the submission of Aadhaar details is optional.

The petition filed before the apex court alleged that the ECI has been insisting that its officials collect Aadhaar numbers of voters and the state officers are forcing the village, and booth-level officials to collect Aadhaar numbers from the voters.

It claimed that “the ground-level officials are forcing the voters to submit their Aadhaar numbers and threatening the voters that if the Aadhaar card number is not provided then the voter will lose their vote.”

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