The Lok Sabha, on Monday, passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 amid stiff opposition from the Opposition MPs. 

The Bill seeks to allow electoral registration officers to seek the Aadhaar number of people who want to register as voters “for the purpose of establishing the identity”.  

Speaking about the Bill, union law minister Kiren Rijiju said: “Even after 18 years, the system says that one has to wait a whole year to exercise their voting rights if they couldn’t register on Jan 1 (of the year of revision of electoral roll). This bill will allow four qualifying dates a year to register as voters.” 

He added that the Bill proposes to replace the word ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to make the act “gender-neutral”. 

Also read: Centre introduces Bill to link Voter ID, Aadhaar cards amid protests

“The 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,” Rijiju said. 

Speaking about proposal to link Aadhar with voter IDs, Rijiju said that presently it is “not mandatory”. 

“It’s currently not mandatory to link Aadhaar to an electoral roll, but with this bill, we’ll make it mandatory to sieve out fake voters. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended this and asked us to expedite the process of making this into an act,” Rijiju said. 

Union law minister Rijiju rejected the statements from the Opposition MPs that the Bill would violate the fundamental rights of the citizens. 

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Rijiju while introducing the Bill clarified that Amendment has been brought to the law only to stop bogus and fraudulent voting. 

“There should be proper discussions on our election reforms. We had asked the Opposition to participate and voice their opinions in the discussion, but they created chaos,” union law minister Kiren Rijiju said. 

The government move was opposed by MPs from the Congress, DMK and TMC. 

The shouted slogans against the NDA government by standing in the Well of the House during the introduction of the bill. 

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