The Election Commission on Thursday suspended its nationwide campaign to link Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) of every voter with his or her Aadhaar number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI).
The EC’s move came following the Supreme Court’s August 11 order not to use the information obtained by UIDAI for issue of Aadhaar card for any purpose other than distribution of foodgrains, cooking gas and kerosene or criminal investigation.
“All further activities relating to collection/feeding/seeding of Aadhaar number being undertaken currently under the NERPAP (National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme) shall be suspended with immediate effect till further directions from the Commission,” the poll panel stated in a letter sent to Chief Electoral Officer of all the states.
“In other words,” the EC clarified, “henceforth, no more collection of Aadhaar numbers from electors or feeding/seeding of collected Aadhaar numbers shall be done by any election authority or official connected with the NERPAP.”
The EC launched the NERPAP on March 3 last with a target to complete the nationwide exercise by August 15.
The NERPAP was intended to link EPIC data maintained with EC with Aadhaar data of the UIADI and authenticate the genuineness of electors, in addition to ensuring that no elector can have multiple entries in the Electoral Rolls from different locations or from different states.
The Supreme Court on August 11 ordered that the production of the Aadhaar card would not be the condition for obtaining any benefit otherwise due to a citizen.
“No Aadhaar data shall be collected from any other agency/ data hub/ organisation or Central Government/ State Government, nor should the data collected so far be used for any authentication/other purpose,” the letter from EC secretary Narendra N Butolia said.
DH News Service