Laminating Identity Card Destroys Its Legality And Authenticity, Says Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

Laminating Identity Card Destroys Its Legality And Authenticity, Says Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

It is hard to notice the thickness, seal, embossment or any other identification marks used to check the authenticity of identity card if the same is laminated to make it glossy and water proof.”

Recently, the Kerala High Court observed that laminating an identity card destroys its legality and authenticity.

While hearing a co-operative society matter, the division bench comprising of Justice V. Chitambaresh and Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi was responding suggestion made by Advocate George Poonthottam about modernizing the voter's identity cards of cooperative societies by lamination and bar code.

The plea had challenged the Joint Registrar’s observation that laminated identity cards with bar codes does not conform to the statutory prescriptions. The court dismissed the writ appeal holding that an identity card cannot be laminated so long as the relevant Rules of Cooperative Society or any other provision do not permit so even though it might be handy, waterproof or even tamper-proof as is alleged.

Justice Chitambaresh noted the vices of laminating the identity cards and remarked: “It is hard to notice the thickness, seal, embossment or any other identification marks used to check the authenticity of identity card if the same is laminated to make it glossy and water proof. The lamination destroys the legality of an identity card for all intents and purposes since it becomes difficult to compare the signature therein with that in the Register. A plastic laminate gets adhered to the identity card for ever altering its physical make up by the process of lamination which destroys its authenticity. Laminated title deeds are not accepted by banks and other financial institutions to sanction a mortgage loan and foreign universities seldom accept laminated certificates. De-laminating machines have come up in the market to strip a document of lamination and the process has turned out to be more costly than the lamination.”

As regards bar codes, the bench said: “One would expect the Legislature to permit barcodes in the identity card to keep pace with the technological advance though law as on today does not enable so. Moreover, barcodes will serve no purpose unless there are sufficient number of bar code scanners and techno savvy Polling Officers or Returning Officers as the case may be.”

The court also added that the laws of cooperative societies as it now stand do not permit voting in an election by the members of a Society with laminated identity card and bar code.

The court drew parallels with the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines without sanction of law. It said: “The voters were awe struck when Electronic Voting Machines were   used for the first time in India in the year 1982 for the by-election of North Paravur Assembly Constituency in Kerala. But the election was set aside and re-polling directed in all the polling booths where the Electronic Voting Machines were used in A.C.Jose v. Sivan Pillai [(1984) 2 SCC 656]. The reason was that the law as it then stood did not empower the Election Commission to use the Electronic Voting Machines in lieu of ballot papers which were in vogue. This led to the introduction of Section 61A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 enabling the use of Electronic Voting Machines to give and record votes in election.”

Read the Judgment Here