The Supreme Court ruling was largely as a result of the flaws of the birth certificate as a form of identification.
Anyone can procure a birth certificate and the fact that it lacks biometric features, makes the document less authentic in serving as a means of identification.
Also, the information it contains may not necessarily be traceable to the holder of the certificate. Again, the fact that the Births and Death Registry isn’t an autonomous agency, but operate in the shadows of the district assemblies, makes its processes quite politicized and manipulable.
But can we completely abandon a fundamental document that certifies birth? If it cannot serve as a form of identification, at birth, then what value do we place on it?
Yes, there are imponderable problems using birth certificates as means of identification. But must the SC throw it’s hands in the air in despair, crumble under the problems and pander to them? Are the problems with our birth certificates that unsurmountable to warrant their total abandonment as means of identification?
So what will be the relevance of birth certificates at birth? Elsewhere, birth certificates are issued within 24 hours of birth and in one month, it serves as a form of identification for the issuance of passport to a child born. Is this practice too sophisticated for us to copy?
Now that it is a law that birth certificates aren’t means of identification, will the National Identification Authority amend its requirements for procuring a Ghana Card by citizens? What happens to the validity of the Ghana Cards and Passports that were procured, using birth certificates as means of identification?
This landmark decision, though well intended, may likely introduce confusion at birth and create other problems due to its monumental consequential implications.
P.A.V. Ansah Street
Suro Nipa House