Delhi: Compulsary carrying of ID cards

      The Lt Governor of Delhi had stated that after 15 Jan 2008 all citizens will have to carry I cards and produce them when asked for by Delhi Police. 

     He had also said that all drivers in Delhi will need to get th eir driving licenses endorsed from Delhi RTO if their licenses are from ouside Delhi.

     This was supposed to be a precaution for security purposes.   However there has been a great deal of opposition to this move. Obviously not because people think that security drill should not be followed, but because  people fear the police will misuse this measure to harass innocent citizens.

Clearly the people of Delhi fear Delhi Police more than terrorists. So much so the Lt Governor’s office had to issue ‘clarification’.

    ” Lt. Governor Tejentra Khanna’s office has clarified that people who are going about their routine work won’t be harassed during the Checking of photo ID cards from January 15. But routine Checks of people found to be moving suspiciously will be stepped up. “

Some extracts :

‘SINISTER DESIGN TO TARGET BIHARIS’  

Nitish protests to PM against Delhi ID plan 

 TIMES NEWS NETWORK  New Delhi: Calling it an attempt to “turn Delhi into a police state” and a “sinister design to target people of Bihari origin”, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has sent a strong letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against the decision of Delhi’s lieutenant governor that every resident of the capital should carry a photo identity card from January 15.
   Kumar’s angst found support across the political spectrum with major political parties opposing the decision.
   Even as Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit criticised LG Tejendra Khanna’s decision and said she was not consulted, Kumar requested the PM “not to allow trampling of citizens’ rights”. He reminded the PM of the “constitutional scheme” that does not “put barriers on free movement of people”, while saying that “no one can claim exclusive jurisdiction over Delhi”. 


        “I suspect that failures on the police and intelligence fronts are being covered up in the name of security and there is an attempt to turn Delhi into a police state,” Kumar said.
         Khanna, in his annual press conference on Friday, also proposed revalidation of driving licences issued elsewhere in the country for people driving in Delhi.

     However, Dikshit maintained her government had received no formal intimation from the LG’s office. Dikshit told TOI on Sunday, “We came to know about it only through reports published in various newspapers.

     We are assuming that since he is the LG, he must have thought of some way to go about it before making the announcement.”

SHEILASPEAK

Khanna didn’t ‘share’ ID plans with me: CM

New Delhi: Lieutenant Governer Tejendra Khanna’s announcement making identity proofs mandatory for Delhiites from January 15 seems to landed the government in a fix, especially over revalidation of driving licences from elsewhere in the country.
   While CM Shiela Dikshit denied her government had been formally intimated by the LG, she added: “As things stand at the moment, the entire exercise (of revalidating licences) is quite complicated because we would need to go to Parliament and ask for a separate Motor Vehicles Act for Delhi, something that is not there for any other state.”

        She added that Khanna had ‘‘not shared’’ his plans in this regard with her government. ‘‘May be things will become clearer when the offices reopen tomorrow (Monday),’’ she said.
        A move like this, if implemented in case of drivers of non-commercial vehicles, is not supported by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which clearly states that if a person holds a driving licence issued in any Indian state, he/she is authorised to drive anywhere in the country.
   Asked if there were any plans to extend the deadline for beginning of checking of Icards, Dikshit said, “I don’t know, because this is not an announcement we made. What I-card, which I-card… this has to be spelt out either by the L-G’s office or the police. We are completely clueless about this beyond what the L-G said in his press conference.”
        Cutting across party lines, political parties criticised the insistence on photo I-cards. While Congress did not react officially, party sources said the L-G’s decision would affect poor people in the city. NCP leader D P Tripathi agreed with Kumar that such a coercive measure was unconstitutional.
   The main opposition BJP also came out against the proposal. Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “It appears that proper homework has not been done before making this proposal, since even the CM of Delhi has opposed it. People from different parts of the country have come to work in Delhi, including a good number of people from eastern UP and Bihar, who are bonafide residents of the capital. We appreciate the steps taken against terror activities, but this should not turn into an instrument to harass such people, particularly those from the lower income group.”
       CPM’s Delhi state secretary P M S Grewal said the L-G’s decision would spur the process of displacement of poor since most of them did not have any identity proof as they worked in the unorganised sector.

        He said the decision that driving licences issued outside Delhi should be revalidated presumed that all licences issued in Delhi were genuine and questioned the authority of other state governments. “The L-G did not even inform the CM and has arrogated arbitrary powers. It challenges the state government’s power,” he said.
        CPI’s D Raja said such policy decisions could not be taken by the L-G when there was an elected government.
        Realising that the L-G’s decision could hit nearly 15 lakh migrant workers from Bihar, Kumar said the “insistence on photo identity cards issued by government, semi-government or private institutions would hit the poor, the illiterate, the migrant and the daily wage-earner the most”.
       Stressing the contribution of people from Bihar in Delhi’s development, Kumar said there was a “growing tendency among higher-ups in Delhi to ridicule Biharis, ignore their contribution and try and get rid of them”.
       Arguing that the order raised “serious concerns about human rights and personal liberties”, Kumar said, “In the name of security, we cannot play around with citizens’ liberty, their rights and the Constitution.”
        Without naming Pakistan and Bangladesh, Kumar urged the PM to learn “what happens when the civil and political wings get influenced by the uniformed cadres and smart salutes”. “Let us not tread into such dangerous areas without assessing their repercussions and fallouts,” he said.
       The idea of revalidating driving licences for Delhi, the Bihar CM said, was “obnoxious and abhorrent and will further cause harassment and resentment among those who come to the capital from outside”.
        Kumar also asked how “fraud I-cards and fraud endorsements” would be detected. “Ultimately, only the law-abiding, the poor and the migrant population will face harassment at the hands of the police and other agencies. And we may also be driving bonafide citizens to extreme action,” he said.
       However, Kumar said his government would support any move to issue citizen identity cards. “We will not oppose this if it is taken up simultaneously in all parts of the country. But the present exercise, meant only for Delhi, smacks of discrimination,” he said.  

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