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Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022- UPSC Current Affairs

Apr 04, 2022

Criminal Procedure

Enhance your UPSC exam preparation with our daily edition of the Current Affairs Dialog box wherein we discuss crucial topics that have relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus. In our today’s edition, we will talk about the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022.

For Prelims: National Crime Records Bureau, Fundamental rights of citizens, Right to privacy, The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022

For Mains: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 and issues, Judgements & Cases, Fundamental Rights.

Why in the News?

Recently, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha.

  • The bill replaces the 102-year-old Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.

Probable Question

What are the major concerns raised in the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the Apex Court in this regard.

Key Points

About the Bill

  • The Bill authorizes law enforcement agencies to collect a host of biometric data as well as biological samples from convicts and other persons to help identify criminals and investigate crimes. The bill also specifies how data will be recorded and preserved.

Related article: International Court of Justice

Provisions of the Bill

  • Collection of Samples: The Bill expands the list of details that can be collected. It will now include: 
    • Palm-print impressions, iris and retina scans, behavioural attributes such as signature and handwriting, and other physical and biological samples such as blood, semen, hair samples, and swabs, and their analysis.
    • Refusal to give details will be considered an offence under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
    • The Bill permits the collection of details about specified persons by either a prison officer (not below the rank of Head Warder), or a police officer (in charge of a police station, or at least at the rank of a Head Constable).
  • Who is covered under the bill: The Bill widens the ambit of such persons to include all convicts, arrested persons, as well as persons detained under any preventive detention law.  
    • Arrested persons will not be obliged to give their biological samples unless they have committed an offence against a woman or a child, or an offence punishable with a minimum of seven years of imprisonment.
  • Retention of details: The Bill requires the details collected to be retained in digital or electronic form for 75 years from the date of collection.  
    • Further, the bill says that information about first-time offenders who are released or acquitted will be deleted after all legal remedies have been exhausted.
    • The National Crime Records Bureau, which falls under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, will collect, store, process, share and destroy the data.
  • Powers of Magistrate: Under the Bill, a Magistrate may direct a person to give details for the purpose of an investigation or proceeding under the CrPC.    
  • Role of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): The Bill empowers NCRB to collect the details about the persons covered under the Bill from state governments, union territory (UT) administrations, or other law enforcement agencies. 
  • Rule-making power extended to the central government: The 1920 Act vested rule-making power only in the state government.  The Bill extends this power to the central government as well.

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What are the Concerns with the Bill?

  • The Supreme Court, in Selvi v State of Karnataka, had held that these investigative techniques when taken against a person’s consent would infringe the fundamental right against self-incrimination guaranteed by Article 20(3) of the Constitution and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The bill could also violate a person’s right to privacy. Currently, India does not have a data protection law. In such a scenario, the collection of such extensive data by the police also raises questions on how this data might be used.
  • It is unclear whether the police can collect and use a person’s DNA, since DNA’s use in criminal investigation is under debate in a separate bill.

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