Court temporarily suspends disputed regulation on electronic ID cards, opposition protests

Electronic ID documents have been issued in Georgia since 2011. Photo: Ministry of Justice press office., 27 Dec 2019 - 16:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Constitutional Court has accepted a lawsuit of two citizens of Georgia on the rule of issuing identification documents in Georgia, and before the final verdict is delivered, people will be able to receive both electronic and non-electronic IDs.

Plaintiffs Nana Sepashvili and Ia Rekhviashvili dispute the rule of issuing ID cards and biometric passports in Georgia, which bans access to the documents without electronic transmission of information.

They state that the rule violates the constitutional rights of religious people, who see electronic documents as the “lever for exercising control on people in the era of apocalypses”.

The opposition has linked the court’s decision on the temporary suspension of the regulation to the Georgian Dream government, stating that the current state leadership will allegedly use the removal of the ban to fabricate votes in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

Vice Parliament’s majority party speaker Giorgi Volski has responded that the “court’s decision has nothing to do with the government and the statement is absolutely ungrounded and absurd.”

Religious people and the church have been demanding the issuing of non-electronic identification documents, together with electronic ones, since 2011.

The plaintiffs say that many religious people in Georgia refuse to accept electronic ID documents, which automatically deprives them of a range of vital necessities and services, and restricts their religious freedoms.