The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022

 

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022  authorizes law enforcement agencies to Collect, Store, and Analyse Physical and Biological samples of convicts and other persons to identify and investigate criminal matters. The Act was passed by Parliament in April 2022. It replaces the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, a colonial-era law.

  • The act allows police officers or prison officers to collect certain identifiable information, like:
  • Fingerprints
  • Biological samples
  • Iris and retina scans
  • Palm-print impression
  • Signature and handwriting
  • Biological samples such as blood, semen, hair samples, and swabs
  • The records will be stored for 75 years from the time of collection.
  • Concerns have been raised that the present law violates the right against self-incrimination enshrined in Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India.

Issues

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022 was heavily criticized when it was passed in April 2022. Critics called it excessive, disproportionate, and violative of the right to privacy. They also raised data privacy concerns.

The act enhances the powers of enforcement agencies to collect data related to a person during investigation.

  • The Constitution states in Article 20(3) that no one who is charged with a crime may be forced to testify against themselves.
  • Some contend that obtaining biological samples and putting them under anaesthesia might result in narcoanalysis and brain mapping of the detained or accused person.
  • This Bill violates Article 21 by attempting to apply these rules to anyone detained under any preventive detention law.
  • Some contend that the bill gives the police and courts the authority to measure defendants who are on trial and thought to be involved in a case, based on the assumption that the defendant may go on to commit a crime in the future.

Positive view

Some say that the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022 will help to increase the conviction rate. The act provides legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such measurements. It also widens the ambit of data collection.

The act allows police officers or prison officers to collect certain identifiable information from convicts or those who have been arrested for an offence. The act also allows the collection of biological samples, which are stored in the DNA bank.

Negative view

One analysis of the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022 concluded that it doesn’t improve the effectiveness of investigations. Instead, it increases administrative burdens and infringes on fundamental rights.

The act doesn’t distinguish between the categories of accused persons based on the nature of offenses. This means that a person accused of a petty offense is treated the same as a person accused of heinous crimes.

 

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