New NIDS Act Brought to Parliament

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A new National Identification and Registration Act, 2020 NIDS, was tabled in Parliament yesterday with significant departures from the previous controversial law that was struck down by the Supreme Court on April 20, 2019, as unconstitutional.

The bill has been referred to a joint select committee of Parliament for deliberations.

The previous law that was ruled unconstitutional by the courts was not reviewed by a joint select committee despite requests from civil society and the parliamentary Opposition.

The proposed new statute makes provisions for voluntary enrolment with the National Registration Authority and allows the individual to cancel the registration.

Under the new bill, the Authority will require biometric information such as facial image, fingerprints, and manual signature, in the case of an individual who is 18 years or older, to enrol a person in NIDS.

The bill also provides for a unique national identification number to be assigned to each person who enrols with the Authority. A national identification card will also be issued to enrolled persons.