The gazette documents issued on Friday notifying the Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules, 2022 and Conduct of Elections (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022 to give effect to the Election Laws (Amendment) Act passed in December 2021, specify April 1, 2023 as the date on or before which every person whose name exists in the electoral rolls “may” intimate his Aadhaar number in accordance with Section 23(5) of the Representation of People Act, 1950, as amended last year. The notification puts out various amended forms for voter registration, change in voter details and EPIC-Aadhaar linkage, etc.
Form 6B, which allows voter ID authentication with Aadhaar number, offers voters the option of either furnishing their Aadhaar number or, alternatively, stating that they cannot furnish it as they do not have Aadhaar number. In the latter case, they will have the option of authenticating their voter ID by furnishing a copy of any one of 11 alternative documents, namely, MGNREGA job card, bank passbook with photo, driving license, PAN card, Indian passport, health insurance smart card, pension documents, government-issued service identity card, official identity card issued to MPs, MLAs and MLCs, and Unique Identity ID issued by social justice ministry,
A senior EC functionary reiterated that furnishing Aadhaar for voter authentication will be entirely voluntary — in accordance with Section 23(5) of the RP ACT 1951 read with Rule 26 B of the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960. “EC will issue detailed guidelines for this purpose,” shared the functional. Sources said that filling up the Aadhaar field in electronic forms for new voter registration, change of address, etc too will not be mandatory either.
Incidentally, there is no declaration towards the end of Form 6B, taking the end of the purview of Section 31 of the RP Act that makes a false statement made in the declaration portion of a form, an offense punishable with up to one year in jail or with fine or both.