Privy Council's verdict on the MNIC case

In several posts earlier I cited the verdicts of the Supreme Court of Mauritius in the two cases which concern the recording & storage of fingerprint for the purpose of the Mauritius National Identity Card.

Note that Dr Maharajah Madhewoo made an appeal to the Privy Council and the case was heard on the 20th July 2016. The judgement was given in October of the same year. The Privy Council noted an ambiguity in the judgment of the Supreme Court with paragraph 5 and 6 contradicting each other. The paragraphs of the Supreme Court of Mauritius are as follows:

(5) the law providing for the storage and retention of fingerprints and other personal biometric data regarding the identity of a person constitutes a permissible derogation, in the interests of public order, under section 9 (2) of the Constitution;

(6) the provisions in the National Identity Card Act and the Data Protection Act for the storage and retention of fingerprints and other personal biometric data collected for the purpose of the biometric identity card of a citizen of Mauritius are unconstitutional.

The Privy Council reconciled the above two paragraphs with the following:

« a law providing for the storage and retention of fingerprints and other personal biometric data regarding the identity of a person in principle constitutes a permissible derogation, in the interests of public order, under section 9(2) of the Constitution. »

A copy of the Supreme Court's judgments on the two cases can be downloaded below:


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