Electoral Reforms Bill Passed In Rajya Sabha By Voice Vote

New Delhi: On Tuesday the Rajya Sabha passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The bill was passed in Rajya Sabha by a voice vote. The bill proposes to link Aadhaar to voter ID.

Piloted by Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 was passed in Lok Sabha by a voice vote after a brief discussion during which some opposition members demanded that it be referred to a parliamentary panel for scrutiny.

After the bill was passed in the Lower House, Rijiju said the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill would allow the electoral roll to be linked with Aadhar cards and it will be optional, not mandatory but it will help us to sieve out fake voters.

“The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill proposes to replace the word ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to make the act (Representation of the People Act of 1951) gender-neutral. It will also expand the limits of the election premises acquisition.”

“Even after 18 years, the system said that one has to wait a whole year to exercise their voting rights if they could not register on January 1 (of the year of revision of electoral roll). This bill will allow 4 qualifying dates a year to register as voters,” Rijiju said.

In the Lok Sabha when Opposition was opposing the bill, Union law minister Kiren Rijiju defends the introduction and consideration of the Bill to link Aadhaar with electoral rolls. He says this matter has already been discussed thread bare in the parliamentary standing committee. He has said that the committee unanimously said that linking of Aadhaar number with electoral Rolls will purify electoral rolls.

Union law minister Kiren Rijiju introduced the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha on December 20. The bill seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act to allow Aadhaar numbers to be used for registration of voters “for the purpose of establishing the identification.” It also proposes to replace the word “wife” with “spouse” to make the Representation of the People Act gender-neutral.

As soon as it came in session on Monday, Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm without transacting any business as Opposition members continued their protests over suspended MPs and other issues. Lok Sabha was adjourned twice and will resume session at 2 pm today.

Congress Leader Manish Tiwari opposes the bill and says, “The Aadhaar Act doesn’t allow for linking of Aadhaar to voters list, it is only for financial benefits or matters. It is beyond legislative competence of the House to table this Bill.”

BSP, RSP and all other opposition parties oppose the Bill linking Aadhaar with voters list.

On this bill Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor Said, “Aadhaar is only proof of residence and not proof of citizenship and hence any such move linking Aadhaar to voters list will be violation of fundamental rights.”

Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday opposed the Election Laws(Amendment) Bill by saying that the linking of Aadhaar number with the electoral cards will violate the fundamental rights of citizen’s privacy.

Law minister Kiren Rijiju says the Bill is in the interest of the state as it will stop bogus voting.

In the Rajya Sabha, Rijiju is scheduled to introduce the Mediation Bill, which aims to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for the resolution of disputes. The proposed law seeks to provide for a body for the registration of mediators, encourage community mediation and make online mediation an acceptable and cost-effective process.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is also expected to introduce the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The proposed law seeks to replace the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Ordinance.

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