Govt introduces Election Laws (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha

New Delhi: Amid strong protest from the opposition Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, on Monday (December 20), introduced the much talked about Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha. 

The bill aims to allow verification of voters through Aadhar. Officials say the bill seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act to allow Aadhaar numbers to be used for registration of voters “for the purpose of establishing the identification.” 

In a far-reaching socio-reform strategy, the draft law also proposes to replace the word “wife” with “spouse” to make the Representation of the People Act ‘gender-neutral’.

Law Minister Rijiju said the new legislation makes the electoral process more credible in the country and brings an end to bogus voting. 

The bill also says that no application will be denied, and no existing entries in electoral rolls will be deleted for the inability to submit Aadhaar numbers. Other documents will be allowed to be submitted for establishing identity as well.

Sources say the new bill proposes an amendment of section 23 of the RP Act. The government has said that electoral reform is an ongoing and continuous process. 

“The Central government has been receiving proposals for electoral reforms from various quarters, from time to time, including the Election Commission of India.”

The opposition has remained defiant in terms of cooperating during the ongoing winter session. Sources say the government is giving importance to four Bills related to election laws, marriage bill, one on biodiversity and mediation bill. Some from the treasury bench have also reached out to the opposition camp, especially a few regional parties, for their cooperation.

Meanwhile, the BJP Parliamentary party is meeting for detailed deliberations at the Ambedkar International Center, Delhi. Normally, BJP lawmakers attend such closed-door meetings in Parliament premises only.

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