National, Front Page

Birth registration rules relaxed

Published : 15 Aug 2022 09:14 PM

The authorities concerned of the government have given relaxation to thousands of students and their parents as the authorities scrapped the condition of parents’ birth certificates mandatory for registering the birth of those born after 2001.

Now the parents are not required to provide birth registration numbers for their children during registration of birth.

The authorities of city corporations, municipalities and Union Parishads (UPs) across the country have started accepting applications of students and children for birth registration certificates without their parents’ birth registration certificates.

Earlier, there were huge allegations of unprecedented delay and sufferings in obtaining birth registration certificates.

According to the Office of the Registrar General, Birth & Death Registration, from now parents’ birth registration certificates will no longer be required for registering birth of their children. The authorities relaxed the rules about a year and a half after making birth certificates of parents mandatory.

Md Lukman Uddin, chairman of No. 7 Dakshin Banigram Union Parishad at Kanaighat upazila in Sylhet, told Bangladesh Post that they have already started accepting applications of children for birth registration certificates in the relaxed rules. From July 27 last, when applying for birth registration, the software does not ask for the birth certificate of the parents, he informed.

Now the sufferings of people will reduce during the registration of the birth of the children of divorced parents, who have no contact with either their mother or father. The complications of street children’s birth registration will also reduce due to relaxation of rules.

The Office of the Registrar General, Birth & Death Registration said that now the birth of a child can be registered by showing any proof of a certificate or vaccination certificate given after birth in a hospital.

This rule was effective earlier. However the rules were changed from January 1 in 2021 and it was said in the updated rules that the birth registration certificate of the parents must be required for birth registration of people born after 2001.

After introducing the rules, many parents and people of the country faced sufferings during registration of birth of their children. They expressed their anger about various sufferings while registering the birth.

Many people raised the question that even if the parents have national identity cards, why should the parents also be required to register the birth of the child?

Baharul Alam Bahar, chairman of Darbast Union Parishad at Jaintiapur in Sylhet, said that after introducing the rules for birth registration through the internet, much new information is being required to be fulfilled. One of the information is the birth certificate numbers of parents. “We had faced complexities following the inclusion of this provision. The authorities had made parents’ birth certificates mandatory for registering the birth of those born after 2001, leaving many in trouble” he added.

Moreover, due to complexities in internet server connection, the birth and death certificates could not be supplied in due time. As a result, the officials involved with the registration work often face the wrath of common people as well as the service recipients, said the UP chairman.

UP chairmen Md Lukman Uddin and Baharul Alam Bahar said, “We had hoped the terms and conditions for providing birth certificates should be relaxed to render a hassle-free service for the service recipients. It is good news that the rules have been relaxed. It will ease the sufferings of common people.”

Mirza Tarikh Hikmat, Registrar General (Additional Responsibilities) of Office of the Registrar General, Birth & Death Registration, said that the obligation of birth registration of parents has been waived considering the sufferings of common people and the ground reality in Bangladesh. From July 27, changes were made in the software for taking birth registration applications online. Now those who apply for the birth registration of the child will not be asked for the birth certificate of the parents as before. Mandatory birth certificates of parents have been removed from the system, he added.

However, highlighting the rationale of the previous rule, the Registrar General said, “Because of knowing about the international use of birth registration, the birth certificates of the parents were asked for thinking about the future. In this way, 30 lakh children have already been given unique IDs. It was a method of familiarization of the children with the parents. Removal of the obligation of parents’ birth certificates will finish that opportunity.”

When asked what would be done about children of divorced parents and street children, Mirza Tarikh Hikmat said these applications were considered special and citizens could not apply directly online. One had to go directly to the Union Parishad (UP) or the registration office to apply. As the birth certificate of parents is no longer mandatory, children from such families can also generally apply online from now on. However, in the case of street children who cannot tell their parents’ names, they have to go to the registration office and apply as before.

According to Section 3 (C) of the Births and Deaths Registration Rules, if a person is an orphan, handicapped, third sex, parentless, unidentified, homeless, vagrant, street dweller or addressless or sex worker, the information will be incomplete, then the birth and death should be registered by writing ‘unavailable’. In such a situation, the registrar cannot refuse to register a birth or death on the ground of lack of information.

Many people said that the complications of children’s birth registration certificates for school admission may be reduced due to the new rules.

The authorities concerned relaxed the rules just days after the High Court issued a rule on giving birth certificates to street children.

On June 30, the High Court issued the rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain as to why the respondents should not be directed to take necessary steps as per the existing law to issue birth certificates to all street children of the country.

The higher court issued the rule following a writ petition filed by a rights organisation named ‘Sports for Hope and Independence (SHI)’.

The High Court also directed the authorities concerned to submit a report before the court within three months describing the necessary steps they have taken to issue birth certificates to all the street children of Bangladesh under the existing law and rules.

Sharmin Farhana, President of the SHI, filed the writ petition on June 12 this year. Barrister Tapas Kanti Baul argued for the petition.

Barrister Tapas said that a team of street children of Bangladesh will participate in the upcoming event of ‘Street Child World Cup Doha-2022’ scheduled to be held in October this year. But when they applied for passports they had been refused to get it as they could not show any birth registration certificate.

The lawyer said that these children will benefit if the obligation of parents to provide a birth certificate is lifted.

The government has made birth registration compulsory for all. But the street children are still out of birth registration due to various complications. One of the complications is that many street children have no identity of their parents.