In response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed alleging that the Puducherry unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has misused Aadhaar details for political gains, the Madras High Court, on March 26, asked the Election Commission to probe the allegations immediately and with the seriousness that it deserves.
The court directed the poll panel to file a report by March 26, reported LiveLaw.
The HC also asked if the Puducherry Assembly election, scheduled for April 6, could be deferred in light of allegations.
The plea filed before the court alleged that the BJP had wrongfully accessed voters' Aadhaar-linked phone numbers to send WhatsApp messages and invites to groups.
The plea was filed by DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) leader A Anand who alleged that he had received a WhatsApp message from the BJP.
The plea said that the messages were received only on those mobile numbers which are Aadhaar-linked. "For instance, if a person uses two mobile numbers, which is very common nowadays, SMS is only sent to the mobile number linked with Aadhar and not in the other mobile number" Anand alleged.
Coupled with this, he alleged that the BJP was making spam calls.
"This is stealing of personal information... misusing seat of power. This is cyber-terrorism. They call us and ask to vote BJP. With Google Pay and Paytm connected to Aadhaar, they could bribe voters through easy cash transfers," Anand told NDTV.
After the plea was filed, the Madras HC referred to the allegations as "a matter of serious concern". The court pulled up the Election Commission for "passing the buck" and asked it to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
"It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cyber crimes division is conducting an investigation," the court observed.
"It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cyber crimes division is conducting an investigation. 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 two-member bench said.