The new law, which replaces similar colonial-era laws, allows police officers to take measurements of people convicted, arrested or on trial in criminal cases, including iris and hammock scans their membranes and even biological samples with exceptions and store these people for up to 75 years.
The law has drawn fierce criticism from opposition members, who say it violates an individual’s right to privacy and liberties. There are concerns that the law will give unbridled powers to the state and law enforcement, and could even lead to drug analysis and citizen brain mapping.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new law, how it differs from the previous one, and established norms around the world…
What is Criminal Procedure Law (Identification), 2022
The new law provides a legal remedy for police to take physical and biological samples of convicts as well as those charged with crimes.
Basically, it will allow police to collect “finger impressions, palm displays, footprints displays, photographs, iris and retinal scans, physical and biological samples and their analysis, behavioral attributes including signature, handwriting or any other check” referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973.
As required by law, any person convicted, arrested or detained under any preventive detention law will be required to provide a “measurement” to the police or prison officials.
It also allows the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to store, preserve, share with any law enforcement agency, and destroy records of measurements at the national level. Logs can be stored for a period of 75 years.
The goal of the law is to ensure unique identification of those involved in a crime and to help investigative authorities solve cases.
How is it different from colonial law?
The new law will replace a colonial-era law, known as the Prisoner Identification Act, dating back to 1920.
The new law is described as a modern, broader version but an “intrusive” version of the previous law.
While the old law allowed authorities to take fingerprints and footprints only from a small number of convicts, the new law allows police to collect a wide range of biological and identification samples not just from convicts. sentence but also those arrested or even detained under any preventive detention measure. law.
By design, the old law was limited to serious offenders but its new law will cover all types of criminals and defendants.
In her article on TOI+, Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya says that the law makes no attempt to distinguish between local thugs detained while a dignitary is visiting, those arrested for sexual assault or those convicted of terrorism.
The storage, preservation of measurements, sharing, dissemination, destruction and processing of records will be done by the NCRB under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The NCRB, the agency that collects all criminal data, will collect records of measurements from the state government or union territory regulator or any other law enforcement agency, store, preserve and destroy records of measurements at the national level and deal with those records with relevant criminal and criminal convictions. The NCRB will also be responsible for sharing and disseminating such records with any law enforcement agencies.
Records of measurements will be kept in digital or electronic form for 75 years from the date of collection of those measurements.
The PRS Legislative Research has provided several examples of the consequences of the law…
Opposition attack, government protection
During the debate over the proposed legislation in Congress, several opposition members expressed strong reservations about the Act’s provisions.
The opposition is concerned that the words “biological samples and their analysis” mentioned in the Act could lead to drug analysis and brain mapping. It implies the use of force to make measurements that violate the rights of prisoners in violation of a category Supreme Court judgments.
Parliament Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has said that the bill, now an Act, sought to empower police and courts to measure those undertaking and suspected of being involved in a case, with assume that they may, in the future, commit any illegal act.
Critics also argue that the law does not place appropriate restrictions on the storage, sharing or use of the defendant’s collected data.
The government, for its part, has tried to assuage the opposition’s concerns.
Interior Minister Amit Shah has ensured that the proposed code of conduct will have safeguards in place against any misuse of identity databases and biological samples, by specifying responsibility of those entrusted with the security of data.
Responding to allegations that the law is “intrusive and a violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on privacy,” Shah said only designated people have the code to access the data.
He also added that those arrested for violations of the peace and related to political protests will be excluded from the law’s reach. He also clarified that its provisions do not allow drug analysis, brain mapping or multigraphs as part of the measurements.