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Plea in Madras HC against alleged use of Aadhaar info by Puducherry BJP for sending WhatsApp invite to voters

The court, after taking note of the charges levelled by the petitioner, asked the Election Commission to submit a report by April 2.

March 26, 2021 / 04:15 PM IST
The plea has raised concerns over the alleged violation of right to privacy (Representative image)

The plea has raised concerns over the alleged violation of right to privacy (Representative image)

A plea was heard by the Madras High Court on March 26, seeking court-monitored probe into the alleged use of Aadhaar information by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to reach out to the voters in Puducherry.

The petition was moved by A Anand, the president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, Puducherry. He alleged that voters whose mobile numbers are linked with the Aadhaar are receiving SMS with links to join the booth-level WhatsApp groups of the BJP.

The petitioner claimed that he was also amongst the voters who received the WhatsApp invites. After enquiring from the group administrator on how his contact number was received, he was asked to approach the BJP's Puducherry unit office.

Anand claimed that when he insisted to know why his name was added among invitees to the BJP-linked WhatsApp groups, the administrator told him that such social media groups exist for 952 polling booths of Puducherry, Bar & Bench reported.

On further inquiring from other voters based in the union territory, it was found that those whose Aadhaar were linked with the mobile numbers received such invites, the petitioner alleged.

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The court, after taking note of the petitioner's charge, asked the Election Commission to file a report in the matter by April 2 - when the matter would be next taken up for hearing.

"When the Election Commission is up and about in all other matters and asserts its primacy and authority, it has to look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves," the bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy were quoted as stating.

According to the petitioner, the SMS with links to join the BJP WhatsApp groups were sent to voters based in all regions of the union territory including Male, Yenam and Puducherry.

Along with the messages, a number of voters have received "spam calls" asking them to vote for the BJP in their respective polling booths, Anand said.

The controversy has emerged days ahead of the upcoming assembly polls in Puducherry. The 30 constituencies of the union territories would be contested in a single-phase on April 6. The results would be declared on May 2.
Moneycontrol News

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