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Criminal Procedure Amendment Act 2022

The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill which seeks to substitute the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 was set forth by the Lok Sabha on 28th May, 2022.

The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 envisages, every person who is convicted or is arrested in connection with any offense which is punishable with rigorous imprisonment of at least one year of above or any person imparted the security of his good behaviour under Section 118 of CrPC, 1898, will allow the police officer to take his or her photograph and measurements in the manner prescribed there, which will be destructed on the acquittal.

The apex court felt the very need for amending the colonial Identification of Prisoner's Act, 1920 when the 87th report of the Law commission undertook various amendments and reviewed this legislation. The court highlighted the need of amending in the very case of State Of UP v. Ram Babu Misra

What Is Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2022?

The above said act, i.e., Criminal procedure (amendment) act, 2022 provides a legal sanction that police officers can collect biological and physical samples of not only the convicts but also of those accused of certain acts.

According to Section 53 or Section 53A (added by Amendment Act, 2005) of CrPC, the police officers have the authority to collect the measurements of the convicted as well as accused. The measurements including impressions of fingers, impressions of palm prints, impressions of foot prints, photographs, scans of retina and iris , physical, biological samples and their analysis, behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting or any other examination referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Furthermore, as per section 4 of the aforesaid act, the National Crime Records Bureau can collect the measurements, destroy, preserve or store the same or share such records with any law agency as may be prescribed. The above said measurements have to be retained in the electronic or digital form for 75 years from the date of such collection , assuming that, if the person has not been convicted previously and is released by the court without trial or is acquitted and his measurements are recorded as per the provisions, such measurement is to be destroyed unless provided by the magistrate the reason in writing to keep the same.

In addition, the state government or the Union territory administration may notify or ask any related agency to collect or preserve the measurements in relevant jurisdictions.

Measurements Are Required To Be Given By Whom?

Section 3 of the act is concern with the individuals who are required to give their measurements as per section 53 or 53A.

The persons who are:
  • Convicted of an act which is punishable under any law for the time being in force
  • Asked to give security of his or her good behaviour or maintenance peace
  • Arrested under any offense which is punishable or arrested under Preventive detention law.

Any person (as mentioned in section 3 of the act), refuses to give their measurements will be punishable under Section 186 IPC. However, it will be lawful for police officers to take reasonable steps in extracting the measurements of such persons .

Constitutional Validity

The act questions the very right of privacy offered by Indian Constitution. Measurement term as provided under the new act includes physical, biological as well as behavioural attributes which questions the privacy of a person. The samples are collected of not only the convicted but also of accused which can be misused in several cases by the police officers. For example, even the samples of political protestors will be taken if accused and not convicted.

No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself , however, the rule making body i.e. the legislature, has included biological and physical samples in the ambit of measurements which could be taken thereby giving a free path to brain mapping and narco-analysis which more or less violates individual right of prevention from self-incrimination, article 20(3) and right to privacy,; article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Furthermore, it straightly violates the basic human rights which is guaranteed by the UN charter. Right to privacy is a fundamental right, which is enforceable in the courts of law and violation of which may lead to great liability on the person infringing the same. Right of privacy has been evolved by the Supreme in many cases beginning from AK Gopalan v. State of Madras, Pramod Kumar Saxena v. Union of India , Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh and so on.

Similarly, section 4 talks about keeping the very record for about 75 years, which clearly violates the decision made by the Supreme Court in KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India , i.e., right to be forgotten. It also violates and contradicts the very principle of Criminal law, i.e., "No one is guilty until proven guilty in the court of law".

In Maneka Ghandhi v. Union of India, the Supreme Court held the right to life not only included right to life but has right to life with dignity which this clearly puts on hold by monitoring the data collected by the them on a regular basis thereby infringing their right to privacy.

The Code of Criminal Procedure contains provisions that govern the procedural element of criminal law. The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was recently passed in parliament, resulting in the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022, taking effect. The said act is a substitute for the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, which authorises police to gather specific identification data (fingerprints and footprints) about people, including detained and convicted individuals, and to destroy that data in the event of an acquittal.

The need for such an amendment arose as a result of technological advancements that can improve criminal investigation; thus, the Law Commission of India proposed the amendments in its 87th report.

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act of 2022 addresses the types of information to be collected, such as biological samples, behavioural characteristics, signatures, and so on, as well as the individuals from whom such data can be collected and the officers authorised to collect it. It also specifies the duration of data storage and its deletion.

However, this Act contains flaws, such as the fact that it violates Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, infringes on the right to privacy, and violates the human rights guaranteed by the UN Charter. The amendment, in its entirety, is a significant step towards improving criminal investigation, but the inconsistencies must be addressed because the provisions go against the Indian Constitution.

  • Section 3, The Identification of Prisoners act, 1920
  • Section 4, The Identification of Prisoners act, 1920
  • Section7, The Identification of Prisoners act, 1920
  • 1980 AIR 791, 1980 SCR (2) 1067
  • Section 53 and 53A of, The Criminal procedure act, 1973
  • Section 2(b), The Criminal procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
  • Section 4(2), The Criminal procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
  • Section 3 , The Criminal procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
  • Section 6(2), The Criminal procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
  • Section 2(c), The Criminal procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
  • Section 6(1), The Criminal procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
  • Article 20(3), The Indian Constitution of India,
  • 1950 SC 222
  • 2008 SC 1877
  • 1962 SC 436
  • 2017 SC 420
  • 1978 SC 255

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