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Brief Introduction of Criminal Procedure-Identification) Act, 2022

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act of 2022 authorizes the collection of personally identifiable information from individuals during criminal investigations. It replaced the Identification of Prisoners Act of 1920 and expanded the range of people from whom information can be collected, as well as the sort of information collected and the individuals who can collect it.

This Act expands the breadth of measurement collecting and improves the effectiveness of criminal investigations. Police now have access to a variety of information about convicted or arrested individuals, allowing them to track down criminals more quickly. In the process of recording and collecting measurements from convicted or arrested individuals, it also employs modern technologies.

It also expanded the scope of individuals whose measurements can be taken by granting magistrates the authority to order the measurement of any individual if they deem it necessary for an investigation or procedure. Previously, there was no central or state organisation responsible for maintaining records, but the NCRB was established under a new law. An surge in crime and a poor conviction rate necessitated the replacement of a law from the colonial era that identified criminals.

Even while the purpose of this Act is to encourage the use of contemporary technology to facilitate criminal investigations, there is no mention of the necessary protections for securing measurement data, which are a prerequisite for dealing with sensitive material. This worry is heightened by the absence of a Data Protection Act, as the private data of prisoners, arrested individuals, and detainees will be held for 75 years, making it susceptible to abuse by law enforcement.

The Act violates the proportionality doctrine of the Puttaswamy judgement. A further concern is that numerous terms in the Act have been left unclear, leading to uncertainty. For example, the term "biological samples" is not defined, therefore it may be read as including narco-analysis, polygraph testing, etc.

In the Selvi decision, the Supreme Court ruled that all of these tests are illegal because they infringe the rights against self-incrimination and privacy. It raises concerns about authorities abusing their authority and the fact that even small offenders may now be required to give its dimensions.

This violates Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the bodily integrity and dignity of an individual. The State has emphasised that the Act is important for protecting national interest because it seeks to solve crimes and maintain public order in society, which is true. However, such protection should be balanced with the fundamental right to privacy, and the violation of such rights should not be disproportionate or unjust.

In conclusion, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 is a good government initiative to improve the nation's criminal laws; nevertheless, the Act must be changed so that it does not jeopardise the interests of the general public or violate their fundamental rights. If the difficulties are rectified, there is no question that the Act will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the investigating agencies.

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