Recently, the Parliament introduced a bill called Criminal Procedure (
Identification) Bill, 2022. This bills aims to replace the Identification of
Prisoners Act, 1920. Though in cases like State of UP v Ram Babu Mishra, Supreme
Court have suggested to amend the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, but
this bill of 2022 is receiving a lot of criticism due to its certain provisions
which seems to be violative of the Right to Privacy of prisoners, convicts and
even of primary citizens
According to this bill, the biometric data including facial recognition, iris
and retina scan and other physical and biological details of the convicts will
be gathered by the law enforcement agencies and would be stored for nearly 75
years by the government servers. The purpose of these provisions is to promote
smart policing, by which the police will be able to easily identify the
criminals and keep a biometric record of history sheeters for their easy
identification in future crimes.
The major bone of contention in this new bill is the use of the term
'measurement' which is not limited to measurement but also the 'analysis' of the
data collected. Another provision which is receiving huge criticism is the
applicability of these provisions to people who are under preventive detention
and those who are convicted of minor offenses. This can also result in
conviction of people who are not actually the real culprits, as their biometric
details can be misused. Further, these provisions are also in contravention of
Article 20(3), which provides the right to accused against self incrimination.
It is argued that this will lead to mass surveillance and increase in bias
towards certain group of individuals.
Supreme Court in Justice Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. vs Union of India and
have laid down the proportionality test which includes the four basic
aspects of legitimate goal, rational connection, necessity and balancing in
order to decide whether a legislation is violating the right to privacy or not.
The critics are of the view that the bill is violative of the proportionality
test as it is providing the government agencies the power beyond their
democratic arena where the private details of individual are being recorded on
permanent bases for a time frame which is exceeding even the average life span
Though the bill also contain a provision which says that if a person with no
criminal record is released without trial or acquitted by the court, all records
so taken shall be destroyed. This provision is hereby reclaiming the sanctity of
Right to Privacy. But the real question is whether the data collected once can
be completely destroyed and what is the guarantee of such complete destruction?
The government should add such provisions in the bill which can lay down proper
procedure as to who should be eligible for biometric storage of private data and
thus, the scope of those undergoing such biometric measurement should be
narrowed down. An effective procedural system, where the use of this power
should be in complete check should be encouraged so that such data does not get
misused and rule of law remain bestowed.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Ruchi Mahil
Authentication No: AR210280856804-12-0422