Birth Certificate Is Useless In Establishing Citizenship –Supreme Court Judgment

The Supreme Court has lowered the long-held importance of a birth certificate by comparing it to a National Health Insurance Card, in its controversial judgment in the suit against the Electoral Commission for excluding it from being breeder document for acquiring a voter Identification Card. A complete judgment of the Supreme Court seen by Whatsup News has unanimously held that birth certificate is not a form of identification. In a rather shocking explanation that has gotten the general public talking, the court claims a birth certificate “provides no evidence of citizenship”. On Page 27 of the judgment of the apex court, it stated: “A birth certificate is not a form of identification. It does not establish the identity of the bearer. Nor does it link the holder with the information on the certificate. Quite obviously, it provides no evidence of citizenship. It, therefore, does not satisfy the requirements of article 42 of the Constitution. In fact, Ghana’s zenith court went ahead to say that a birth certificate as a form of identification is worse than the National Health Insurance (NHI) card. “In fact, as a form of identification, it is worse than NHI card which was held to be unconstitutional as evidence of identification of a person who applies for registration as a voter in Abu Ramadan (No1) supra and Abu Ramadan (No2) supra,” stated the judgment which was compiled by Justice Ashie Kotey for the panel of judges that sat on the June 25, court proceedings between the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and private citizen Mark Takyi Banson against the Electoral Commission (EC). The applicants-NDC and Mr Banson had dragged the EC to the apex court for daring to exclude birth certificates and existing voters ID cards from the list of breeder documents needed before one can register as a voter in the new voters’ register. Apparently, the Supreme Court’s decision by disregarding the importance of a birth certificate as an identification document, was drawn from an earlier ruling by then-Chief Justice Georgina Woods in 2016. She also ruled that birth certificates are the worst form of identification. Justice Woods wrote: “… the term evidence for identification as used in regulation 1(3) is referable, not in the strict and narrow sense as advocated by the defendants, to a person’s mere ‘identity’ by name and face only, but the more important constitutional criteria that qualify a person for registration as provided under the primary source, i.e. article 42 of the Constitution and repeated under regulation of C.I 72.” The controversial ruling by the Supreme Court and its reference to an earlier ruling has sent Ghanaians into a wild frenzy. Some have questioned the rational thought in the ruling, given the fact that before all forms of identification documents are procured, strict emphasis are placed on birth certificates.


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