Various proposals of the Election Commission (EC) for electoral reforms, including seeding of the electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem, are under the government's consideration, Parliament was informed today.
In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the EC has put forward certain important electoral reform proposals, which include seeding of the electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem, quadruple qualifying dates for registration of voters against the single date available as of now, a ban on the display of election matter 48 hours before the close of poll in print, electronic and social media.
"The proposals are under consideration of the government," he said.
According to an EC proposal sent in August 2019, the electoral law should be amended to empower the electoral registration officers to seek the Aadhaar number of the existing voters as well as of those applying to enrol themselves in the voter list.
In August 2015, a Supreme Court order on Aadhaar had put the brakes on the EC's project to link Aadhaar numbers with the electoral data.
The poll panel was then collecting Aadhaar numbers as part of its National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP).
Seeking to check multiple entries in electoral rolls and make them error-free, the EC had embarked on the ambitious project to link Aadhaar numbers with the electoral data.
Since the Supreme Court order makes it clear that a sanction of law is required to collect Aadhaar numbers, the EC has proposed changes in the electoral law.
The poll panel has also proposed a ban on political advertisements in newspapers during the "silence period" between the end of campaigning and the day of polling so that the electorate is not influenced and can exercise the franchise with a free mind.
The move will require changes in the Representation of the People Act.
A committee, tasked with proposing changes in the electoral laws dealing with campaigning in the 48 hours prior to polling, had recommended a ban on advertisements in newspapers on the polling day.
As of now, only the electronic media is barred from showing election publicity material in the 48 hours prior to the conclusion of polling. But the committee recommended bringing the print media under the ambit of section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.