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L-G rolls back photo ID plan

Delhi Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna withdraws the controversial move to make photo I-cards compulsory, reports Amitabh Shukla.

delhi Updated: Jan 08, 2008 02:31 IST
Amitabh Shukla
Amitabh Shukla
Hindustan Times

Delhi Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna on Monday withdrew the controversial move to make photo identity cards compulsory for all in the Capital. This came three days after he made the announcement, triggering a storm.

Khanna also withdrew the proposal to validate driving licences of other states by Delhi authorities. “I had not given any timeframe and there are legal issues too,” Khanna said on the decision to take the move back.

The rollback of the ID card decision followed widespread criticism of the L-G’s unilateral move. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had also shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, terming the move a “direct interference in personal liberties”. The PM on Monday said he would look into Kumar’s complaint, a few hours before the L-G announced the rollback at a hurriedly-convened press conference.

Khanna clarified that he never said non-possession of identity proof would make a person “guilty and suspicious”. “No mandatory orders have been issued on compulsory possession of the ID cards and their checking by the police,” he said.

He said he had instructed the police commissioner to increase surveillance in the city to screen people arousing suspicion. “During such screening, possession of any photo identification document would be of convenience to those whose conduct may have aroused suspicion,” he added.

The L-G said there were fears that beat constables would start extortion in the garb of such a move. “Special police teams would be constituted to place random barricades in the city and check the suspects,” Khanna said. He said suspicious people would be taken to the police station for interrogation as was done earlier.

On the validation of driving licences of other states, the LG said driving skills required in Delhi were different from that of other states. “We will now call the drivers at random to check their skills at the simulators. This would be applicable to people with driving licences from Delhi as well as other states,” he said.

“There cannot be any nadir shahi (autocracy) in Delhi and validation is not mandatory,” he said.