The names of people who do not share their Aadhaar number to link with the election identity card will not be struck off the voters list, the government said on Friday, noting that the exercise is voluntary.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, allows electoral registration officers to require the existing or prospective elector to provide the Aadhaar number for the "purpose of establishing identity" on a "voluntary basis", Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha.
He was responding to a question on the linkage of Aadhaar with electoral rolls. The Election Commission has launched a programme to collect the Aadhaar number of existing and prospective electors on a voluntary basis from August 1 in all the states and UTs.
It is voluntary to link Aadhaar with a Voter ID and consent is obtained from the elector for Aadhaar authentication in Form 6B which was recently introduced, he said.
However, the minister made it clear that "there is no provision for withdrawing the consent" to share Aadhaar details. Asked whether the name of the voters whose voter IDs are not linked with Aadhaar will be struck off from the voters' list, he replied in the negative.
The minister informed Rajya Sabha on Thursday that more than 54 crore of the nearly 95 crore total voters have opted to link their Aadhaar details with the voter list. He said linking of Aadhaar is "process driven" and "no targets have been given" for linking Aadhaar with election photo identity card.
Rijiju said the Unique Identification Authority of India (UlDAl), under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 has made it compulsory for the centralised storage of all Aadhaar numbers in a different repository known as 'Aadhaar Data Vault'.
The Election Commission strictly follows the guidelines prescribed by UIDAI and "does not" store the Aadhaar numbers in its database. The Aadhaar number is used only for authentication purposes and EC does not retrieve any personal information from the UIDAI Aadhaar database, he underlined.