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Featured Image: An earlier promo that ECI had issued to popularise NERPAP. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 19 August: THE collection and linking of Aadhaar number with the voters’ photo identity card have been suspended in West Bengal with immediate effect following a new directive from the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Bengal, however, is the not the only state where this has been suspended; ECI has instructed the same to all other states in India.

The collection and linking of Aadhaar with voter card was initiated by ECI earlier this year in a nation-wide drive named the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme or NERPAP, in short.

The ECI had said that it would be up to a voter whether he or she wants to link their voter card to Aadhaar. But at the same time, the poll panel asked all states to engage booth level poll officers to undertake a household survey to collect from voters the details of their Aadhaar number, mobile number and e-mail address etc and feed the same into the electoral database.

All states, including West Bengal eventually launched the survey as directed by the ECI; in Bengal the task has reached an advance stage.

But in a 11 August order in connection with a Writ Petition (Civil) (No. 494 of 2012 Justice K.S.Puttaswamy (Retd) & Another v/s  Union of India & Others), the Supreme Court asked for a stop all activities relating to the collection and linking of Aadhaar with any other facility or identity card such the voter’s card.

Consequent to this, the ECI on Monday issued a new directive to the election authorities of all the states, to stop the tasks at once until further direction.

“In other words, henceforth no more collection of Aadhaar numbers from voters or feeding of collected Aadhaar data shall be done by any election authority or official connected with the NERPAP,” Bengal state Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kumar Gupta said in a statement.

“No Aadhaar data shall be collected from any other agency/data hub/organisation of Central Government/state Government, nor should the data collected so far be used for any authentication/other purposes,” the statement adds.