New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a petition against the Central government’s decision to enable linking of electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the petitioner, contended that the right to vote cannot be denied on the ground of not having an Aadhaar card.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka queried Divan that his argument seems that for one who does not have Aadhaar, voting should not be denied to that person, or even on having Aadhaar, it should not be compulsory. At this, counsel replied that the right to vote is one of the most sacred rights.

During the hearing, the bench pointed out that alternatives, in the absence of an Aadhaar card, may not even be available to people in the tribal areas.

The top court was informed that there is a specific section under the Aadhaar Act which states that an Aadhaar number is not proof of citizenship.

After hearing submissions, the top court tagged the petition filed by Maj Gen S.G. Vombatkere (retd) with similar pending petitions.

The top court noted that the petitioner has drawn attention to Aadhaar judgment to contend that only if some benefit is sought to be conferred, then Aadhaar can be mandatory but not to deny rights. And, the right to vote is the highest of such rights, noted the bench.

It scheduled the matter for further hearing in mid of December.

The Central government had amended the Registration of Electors Rules to allow linking Aadhaar details with a voters list to weed out duplicate entries.

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