In the wake of a public outcry, the Home Affairs Ministry on Wednesday backed down from its original demand and said applicants for new passports must now furnish birth certificates that have been obtained no more than two years before.
Originally, the Ministry had ordered that the birth certificates must be no more than six months.
But sections of the public had expressed concern about the waiting time it takes to get a birth certificate when one considers travel plans.
Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee had sought to defend the six-montn ruling on the ground that was aimed at weeding out identify theft and corruption.
“There are a lot of people applying for passports with false birth certificates, presenting it and stealing someone else’s identity. “If you go with a false birth certificate and you present it with wrong information you will obviously be perpetuating a false identity,” he has said.
The Home Affairs Minister has said that the new birth certificate rule was being enforced in keeping with international best practices to ensure the integrity of the machine readable passports system that was introduced in 2007.