The Criminal Procedure (Identity) Bill 2022 was passed by the Lok Sabha or the lower house of Parliament on 4 April 2022. Earlier, Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni had introduced the bill in Lok Sabha on March 28, 2022. Rajya Sabha had passed the bill through a voice vote on 6 April 2022. At the time the story was written, the current status of the bill is that it is waiting to be signed by the President to become an act.
Why was the Criminal Procedure (Identity) Bill 2022 bill introduced?
The bill aims to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act 1920. In the 1980s, the Law Commission of India in its 87th report recommended significant changes to the existing law. After which a new bill was introduced in the Parliament. The Prisoners’ Recognition Act 1920 was a pre-independence era law made primarily by the British to keep their Indian subjects under control by using the state machinery.
The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 was enacted by the British to authorise them to take measurements and photographs of prisoners and other persons.
Although the word “measurement” had no explicit meaning, the said 1920 Act is limited to permitting the taking of fingerprints and footprints and photographs of convicted and non-convicted persons on the orders of a magistrate.
What are the provisions of the new bill? important points of the criminal procedure.
The new bill empowers the police and prison management authorities to collect, store and analyse physical and biological samples, including retinal and iris scans, of convicts and persons arrested by them. The new bill also applies to persons arrested under any preventive detention law (one of the reasons for which the bill was widely criticised by the opposition and others.)
As per LiveLaw, The collection of the following will be allowed under the bill. Collection of photographs, fingerprints, footprints, palm prints, iris and retina scans and other physical and biological samples. It also proposes the collection of behavioural characteristics including signature, handwriting or any other examination referred to under Section 53 or Section 53A of CrPC. Biological samples include samples like DNA, blood, semen, saliva etc.
Under the new bill, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the nodal agency for storing the data collected under the act. NCRB is also empowered by the act to preserve data for at least 75 years and is allowed to share records with other law enforcement agencies.
Although the collection of information permitted by the bill would require the order of a magistrate, it would prevent misuse of the Act. The bill also allows the magistrate to order the collection of information from any other person to aid in the investigation.
Any State Government or the Union Territory Administration may notify an appropriate agency in its respective jurisdiction to collect, preserve and share the measurements of the person of interest. For instances when the state government is tracking a particular culprits movement or trying to catch them
The new bill seeks to penalise individuals if they refuse to allow authorities to take adequate measurements and data. While consent shall be taken before biological samples are taken, the Bill provides for the forcible collection of such samples from persons arrested for an offence against a woman or child, or if the offence is punishable with imprisonment of not less than seven years.
In comparison with the previous act, this new bill seeks to expand the types of information that can be collected, and it also expands the “scope of persons” whose data can be collected.
A person may refuse to give biological samples. However, this shall not apply if the offence relates to an offence against women or children, or the offence carries a minimum sentence of seven years of imprisonment.
The proposed bill will seriously help police officers reduce the threat from organised crime, cybercriminals and terrorists who are skilled in identity theft and identity fraud.