A month ago, the ECI had said that the move would help weed out duplicate or even non-existent voters. The government had approached the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with the proposal to permit the ECI to use Aadhaar for registration of new voters.
While sources at the ECI have confirmed that the proposal was still under consideration, those critical of the move said that it would create mass disenfranchisement, increase voter fraud and want the proposal to be withdrawn.
One of the signatories, Srinivas K, told TOI that using Aadhaar for “cleaning up” databases of other government registries, like MGNREGA and PDS, have led to arbitrary deletion of names of citizens from the system without any notice.
In the letter, a copy of which is with the TOI, they have stated that the move could fundamentally alter the structure of democracy, undermine electoral democracy and impact voters’ trust in the electoral system.
The letter further noted that the Election Commission’s proposal would violate the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy case, which limited the use of Aadhaar authentication solely to welfare programmes.
The letter further elaborated that in 2018, election officials from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh linked Aadhaar data with voter ID cards after which people found that at least 55 lakh voters had been arbitrarily disenfranchised.