NIDS struck down!

NIDS struck down!

Court rules entire Act null and void

Friday, April 12, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica —The Constitutional Court this morning struck down the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) Act in its entirety.

"Having declared some of the provisions in violation of the Charter, we are of the view that what was left in the NIDS Act could not stand. Therefore, the entire NIDS Act is to be declared null and void and of no legal effect," said Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

The claimant, People's National Party General Secretary Julian Robinson, requested several declarations from the court on the basis that certain provisions of the National Identification and Registration Act abrogates, abridges and infringes particular rights outlined in the Constitution of Jamaica.

Sykes, in handing down the ruling a short while ago, said the challenge was not premature, noting that once the claimant identifies a violation to his Constitutional rights then the burden is on the Government to show that the violation is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The chief justice said a court case relating to privacy challenge in the Supreme Court of India was considered, and on that premise noted that the right to privacy has at least three dimensions: privacy of person, informational privacy (right to disseminate personal information) and privacy of choice.

Sykes said the court felt that there was a violation of the Constitutional rights to privacy and that the justification given by the Government did not meet the Constitutional standards.

The bill was passed in Parliament in November 2017 with more than 260 amendments amidst tensions between the Government and the Opposition.

The full court panel, comprising Chief Justice Sykes, Justice David Batts and Justice Lisa Palmer Hamilton heard submissions from the parties from October 22-24 last year.

The NIDS project, which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Jamaica is intended to create a national database for all Jamaicans providing each citizen with a unique national identification number.

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