Wed, May 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP caucus to seek fingerprint ruling

IDENTITY ISSUE Ruling party lawmakers hope that the Council of Grand Justices will be able to rule on the constitutionality of the ID-card requirement before July 1

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday announced that it will file an application for a constitutional interpretation on the plan to collect fingerprints for new national identification cards to be issued starting on July 1. It hopes the Council of Grand Justices will issue a ruling on its application before that date.

DPP caucus whip Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said yesterday that the DPP will request a constitutional interpretation on Article 8 of the Household Registration Law (戶籍法) on Friday or Monday. The article stipulates that all citizens over the age of 14 must submit a full set of fingerprints when applying for an ID card starting July 1.

"If the Council of Grand Justices does not make an interpretation on this issue before July 1, the caucus will support the Executive Yuan to enforce the Household Registration Law," Lai said.

The Executive Yuan has proposed an amendment in the legislature, requesting that Article 8 be deleted. The amendment was held up in the legislature for months because the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) submitted a request to reconsider it.

In a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning, Lai said that the DPP hopes the KMT will withdraw its motion for reconsideration, allowing the amendment to proceed to review.

"We believe that allowing lawmakers to fully debate Article 8 is the most responsible way to let the public understand whether people should provide their fingerprints," Lai said.

Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said yesterday that he had no comment on the DPP caucus filing for a constitutional interpretation since it is a matter of legislators' responsibilities and rights.

"But I don't think its a good idea to ask the Executive Yuan not to enforce the law until it is revised, since the law was passed nine years ago," Su said.

Su said that the ministry expects the legislature to deal with Article 8 and if the legislature decides to revoke the article, then fingerprints will not be required for the new ID cards.

"Regardless of whether the law is revised or not, the ministry welcomes people who are comfortable with providing their fingerprints to apply for their new ID cards," Su said. "As far as I know, there are a whole lot of people living in Taipei who are willing to provide their fingerprints."

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) also said yesterday that it's inappropriate for the Executive Yuan not to enforce a law passed by the Legislative Yuan.

"If most people aren't happy with the fingerprinting, then it's necessary to revise the law," Hsieh said. "Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) also expects the legislature to revise the law, which I believe is a step in the right direction."

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