In a big move, the Election Commission (EC) has reportedly filed a revised petition in the Supreme Court to make the Aadhaar linking mandatory with all Voter ID cards.
The poll panel, which has previously supported the move, claimed that the mandatory seeding can prevent voter fraud and ensure each person has only one vote, reported the Sunday Indian Express.
Earlier, the EC said that linking the 12-digit unique identity to all voter cards is voluntary.
However, the poll panel changed its stance after former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) AK Joti took charge in 2016.
As many as 32 crore Aadhaar numbers have been linked to voter ID cards so far, incumbent Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said on Saturday.
"So far, as many as 32 crore Aadhaar numbers have been linked to voters' ID cards. Another 54.5 crore will be done as soon as we get a nod from the Supreme Court," he told reporters on the sidelines of the 14th National Conference of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO in Bengaluru.
Asked how long it would take to link another 54.5 crore Aadhaar numbers, Rawat said "we did 32 crore in just three months".
In February 2015, the poll panel had issued guidelines for linking Aadhaar with Electors' Photo Identity Card (EPIC), popularly known as the voter ID card, as part of the National Electoral Rolls Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP).
However, the Supreme Court stayed the move in its August 2015 ruling, stating that the unique identification number or the Aadhaar card will not be used by the respondents for any purpose other than the PDS scheme and in particular for the purpose of distribution of food grains, and cooking fuel such as kerosene.
Later in July 2017, the EC submitted its application to the top court for the collection of Aadhaar details of voters and linking them to their database.
All matters pertaining to Aadhaar have been placed before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.
Though the EC supports compulsory seeding of Aadhaar with the voter card, it is not in favour of using the Aadhaar card as the Electors' Photo Identity Card.
Karnataka-based Mathew Thomas had moved to the top court in November last year challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act claiming that it infringes upon the Right to Privacy and the biometric mechanism was not working properly.
With agency inputs