05 Apr, 2022 11:37a.m.

Lok Sabha passes Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill


The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, with home minister Amit Shah assuring the House that the "government will do everything to ensure there is no misuse of the law," as the opposition focused on the "possibilities" of law enforcement officials harassing citizens and misusing data, resulting in a breach of personal privacy.

Almost the entire opposition including Naveen Patnaik's BJD opposed the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022, in Lok Sabha on Monday, essentially over fear of misuse of the law against individual citizens by police forces and other law enforcement agencies, on data collection without any law for data protection yet in the country, and also in terms of "breaching" fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution on the Bill having been passed.

The home minister promised that the bill "will definitely be sent to the standing committee" after all parties demanded it. Before the Bill was passed by voice vote, Shah responded that the Bill will keep detectives two steps ahead of offenders. Those who raise human rights issues, he said, must equally be concerned about the rights of crime victims.

Here are five things to know about the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill:

  1. The bill makes it legal for police and prison officials to collect, store, and analyse physical and biological samples from convicted criminals, including retina and iris scans. According to the bill, the record of measurements will be kept for 75 years from the date of collection.

  2. The disputed draught provides a legal collection of behavioural characteristics such as signatures, handwriting, or any other examination referred to the offenders under Section 53 or Section 53A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

  3. According to the law, if the offenders oppose taking the measurements, they would be charged with an offence under Section 186 of the IPC (obstructing a public servant), which carries a three-month jail sentence, a fine of $500, or both.

  4. People who have not been convicted or arrested for crimes against women or children, or who are in detention for a felony that is punishable for less than seven years, can refuse to offer their biological samples, according to the authorities.

  5. These rules, according to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, will only be applied in circumstances of "heinous crimes." He went on to say that the bill's rules will include a similar explanation. The legislation, he claims, is intended at "strengthening law and order as well as the country's national security."

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