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Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and associated issues.

 

Context:

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha.

  • After the introduction, the Opposition sought a division, resulting in 120 votes in favour and 58 votes against the Bill.

 

Key Provisions:

  1. It seeks to repeal the Identification of Prisoners Act 1920. The said Act, in its present form, provides access to a limited category of persons whose body measurements can be taken.
  2. It authorises law enforcement agencies to collect, store and analyse physical and biological samples of convicts and other persons for the purposes of identification and investigation in criminal matters.
  3. The Bill also authorises police to record signatures, handwriting or other behavioural attributes referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for the purposes of analysis.
  4. As per the Bill, any person convicted, arrested or held under any preventive detention law will be required to provide “measurements” to a police officer or a prison official.
  5. Any state government of Union Territory administration may notify an appropriate agency to collect, preserve and share the measurements of a person of interest in their respective jurisdictions.
  6. Resistance to or refusal to allow the taking of measurements under this Act shall be deemed to be an offence under section 186 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

 

The Bill seeks to:

  1. Define “measurements” to include finger impressions, palm-print and foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, biological samples and their analysis, etc.
  2. Empower the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to collect, store and preserve the record of measurements and for sharing, dissemination, destruction and disposal of records.
  3. Empower a Magistrate to direct any person to give measurements; a Magistrate can also direct law enforcement officials to collect fingerprints, footprint impressions and photographs in the case of a specified category of convicted and non-convicted persons.
  4. Empower police or prison officers to take measurements of any person who resists or refuses to give measurements.

 

Need for and significance of the Bill:

  • The Bill states that it is necessary to expand the “ambit of persons” whose measurements can be taken as this will help investigating agencies gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.
  • The Bill will not only help investigation agencies but also increase prosecution. There is also a chance of an increase in conviction rates in courts through this.

 

Opposition:

Opposition members in parliament have termed it as “draconian” and “illegal”.

  • It infringed upon the right to privacy.
  • It violated Article 20 (3) of the Constitution that safeguards the rights of citizens by providing that “no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself”.
  • The proposed law, that also provides for retaining the people’s measurements for 75 years from the date of collection, was in “violation of the Right to be Forgotten enshrined in the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what the Supreme Court has said K.S. Puttaswamy Judgment? Reference: read this.

Sources: Indian Express.