Supreme Court dismisses contempt plea against ECI for not changing forms seeking Aadhaar Number to enroll new voter

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Court further noted that the earlier petition was disposed of in light of ECI's undertaking that they were looking to issue appropriate clarification in the matter

The Supreme Court has dismissed a contempt plea filed against the Election Commission of India for not changing its forms which still ask for Aadhar number in updation of entries in the electoral roll.

A CJI DY Chandrachud led bench also comprising Justices Manoj Misra and Satish Chandra Sharma declined to initiate contempt proceedings, noting the ECI's submission that it was addressing the issue.

In September last year, the Election Commission had informed the Supreme Court of India that submission of the Aadhar number was not mandatory for process of deletion and updation of entries in the electoral roll.

A CJI DY Chandrachud led bench was further told that the Election Commission is looking into issuing appropriate clarifications for the same. 

Sukumar Pattjoshi, Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the Election Commission of India, also submitted before the bench that nearly 66,23,00,000 Aadhar numbers had already been uploaded in the process of finalising electoral rolls.

Court had thus disposed of the petition filed by G. Niranjan.

It is to be noted that in a similar plea, the Supreme Court in November 2022 had issued notice in a challenge to the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 and amended Section 23 and Section 28 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1950 (RP Act), and the Rules made pursuant thereto, namely Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules, 2022, which together enable the Election Commission of India to use the Aadhaar database in the process of deletion and updation of entries in the electoral roll.

Arguing that preparation of electoral roll is to be independently performed by ECI under the constitutional scheme, the plea submits that the exercise sanctioned under the RP Act, Rules and the Notifications poses a major threat to the independence of the Election Commission insofar as the Election Commission has made the function of the preparation of electoral rolls dependent on the processes and systems of Aadhaar/UIDAI that it has no control over.