The Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 p.m. on Monday after the introduction of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 amid strong protest by the Opposition.
The Bill seeks to allow the electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers of applicants wanting to register as voters to establish the identity of the applicant.
Soon after the House reassembled at 12 p.m. after the first adjournment, BJP member Rajendra Agrawal who was on the Chair, asked Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju to table the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Strongly opposing it, Leader of Congress Party in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the provisions of the Bill violate the Right to privacy and demanded that it be referred to the Standing Committee for wider consultation. The government cannot introduce the Bill without a foolproof Data Protection, he added.
Echoing his stand was Congress MP Manish Tewari who also said the Bill violates the Supreme Court order and noted that the Aadhar Act does not allow Aadhar and Voter ID linking.
AIMIM Member Asaduddin Owaisi, while opposing it, said that it clearly violates the apex court judgment in Puttaswamy case and also sought a division on the tabling, while a BSP Member also opposed the Bill, referring to the Supreme Court judgment.
Along with the RSP MP N.K. Premachandran and the TMC Member Saugata Ray, Congress Member Shashi Tharoor also Opposed the Bill. “The Aadhar is proof of residence and not citizenship,” he asserted.
However, the Chair allowed Rijiju to introduce the Bill in the House. The Law minister said that the arguments being given by the Opposition Members are “baseless” and “misinterpreting” the apex court’s judgment.
“The People’s Representation Act, 1951, clearly states that one voter will be listed in only one voter list and this Bill will prevent bogus voting,” Rijiju said while introducing it.
The Bill was introduced amid the din and the House was adjourned till 2 p.m.