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Court dismisses suit against NIA

An Accra high court has dismissed an application filed by Mr Francis Kwarteng Arthur, seeking to prohibit the National Identification Authority (NIA) from making the provision of a digital address code a prerequisite for procuring the Ghana Card.

The applicant, among others, contended that the digital address code was entirely unknown to the laws of Ghana, therefore, asking him to produce the code was illegal, unreasonable and discriminatory.

However, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, who presided over the Human Rights Division of the High Court, which heard the case, stated that the entire reliefs sought by the applicant had no legal or factual basis.

The applicant, she said, could have discharged by providing the court with evidence of persons, who were issued with the card despite their inability to provide a digital address code. 

However, in the absence of any such evidence, she did not see how the applicant was discriminated against, and therefore, awarded a cost of GH¢3000 in favour of the NIA.

The judge said that the applicant had no capacity to make an application under Article 33 of the 1992 Constitution for the grant of remedies for the good of the entire society.

Per Article 2 of that constitution, the proper forum to ventilate matters of public interest in respect of constitutional provisions was the Supreme Court, and not the High Court.

From the evidence before the court, which was not being challenged by the applicant, the NIA was empowered to issue national identity cards upon registration of applicants, who would provide the requisite information, according to the court.

Mr Kwarteng Arthur sued the NIA on February 19, this year, asking the court to prohibit the NIA’s registration officials from demanding digital address code before registering and issuing Ghana cards to eligible Ghanaians.

He said in July 2018, the NIA announced the registration of members of the Ghana Bar Association for the cards in Accra.

Mr Arthur being a member of the GBA, submitted himself for registration, however, the NIA registration officials demanded for his digital address code.

As he was unable to provide the information, he was unable to secure the card.

Mr Kwarteng Arthur, in his claim of reliefs against the NIA, also contended that his right to administrative justice and to equality or non-discrimination was likely to be violated by the NIA.

Mr Justice Srem-Sai was the counsel for the applicant, whilst Mr Kwaku Asirifi led the NIA’s legal team.

– GNA

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