A bold step towards electoral reforms

There is too less a scope to disagree that the country needs a lot of reforms to be made in the present structure of electoral process to make it more transparent and befitting the objectives of hard won democracy . Since that cannot be done without proper amendments in Representation of People’s Act , there must, therefore, be greater unanimity and a conscientious approach among the members of the Parliament cutting across party and ideological differences. It also , therefore, means that the general trend of opposing, even resisting unavoidable and much required reforms in various vital areas, must change, sooner the better in the larger interests of the country. The Government’s initiative in linking voter identity cards with the particulars of the Aadhar Cards is one of the much required steps taken to put an end to various discrepancies, ambiguities and manipulations all aiming at bogus identity cards, multiple enrolment of the same person and at different places and other ills thus at times manoeuvring and manipulating elections of contesting candidates . Lok Sabha, as such , passing the concerned Bill titled Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 to this effect as also by the Rajya Sabha has paved the way for Aadhar becoming ”Aadhar” or the base to accord genuineness to a voter identity card and therefore to weed out fake voters from the ”registered” electoral rolls.
Since Aadhar Card believed to be not having a specific purpose behind it , is now becoming the easiest main proof of one’s identity and is used for linkages to Pan Card and latest is with the electoral identity card besides carrying lot of importance for purposes of obtaining / acquiring a passport , opening Bank accounts, digital life certificates, provident fund disbursing and in availing of various types of subsidies etc. The fact of the matter, on the other hand , is that an application for enrolment as a voter cannot, ipso- facto be rejected simply because one did not possess a valid Aadhar Card – that being a caveat or a specific provision in the said Bill passed by both Houses of the Parliament for establishing of an identity. On the other hand , it also implies that the existing voters could be asked to provide Aadhar Card particulars to ensure whether the same matched with the registration particulars of a voter in the respective electoral registration offices. The amendment sought , therefore, to the Representation of the People’s Act will bestow it also to become gender neutral by replacing the word ”wife” by ”spouse” . For example , a discrepancy like the wife of an Army personnel was entitled to be enrolled as a service voter but a woman army officer’s husband was not, has now been streamlined through this legislation .
It must be specifically underlined that such liking is on voluntary basis and no entries in the electoral rolls are liable to be deleted on the basis of a person not being in a position to furnish such particulars of Aadhar Card , instead other documents and particulars furnished by such a person would be sufficient. That, however, does not render the exercise as a just formality especially in view of the same having been through in both the hoses of the Parliament but a trend has now been set ,a statutory stress on proper verification having been streamlined was going to have a larger positive impact . With this reform , multiple registrations at places where a person moved from one to the other place on account of one’s avocation , livelihood or merely by shifting residence shall automatically get deleted and remain at one place only termed as ”ordinarily resident ”. It shall have the most important advantage of collating and having a correct data base of electoral rolls in the country.
Everyone, therefore, must in the name of transparency and propriety, appreciate and lend support to this part of electoral reform in the democratic set up of the country. At the same time, may we expect more electoral reforms taking place gradually with intent to further cleanse the existing system aiming at good governance?