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Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022

THE GOVERNMENT introduced in Lok Sabha the Criminal Procedure (Identification)
Bill, 2022, which authorises the police to take "measurements" to tag those who have been convicted, arrested or detained:
  1. Including impressions of fingerprints, palm prints and footprints;
  2. Photos;
  3. Iris and retina scans;
  4. Analysis of physical and biological samples; and
  5. Behavioural attributes, including signature and handwriting.

Key Features Of The Bill:
  • Bill defines "measurements" it included fingerprints, palm-print and foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical appearances, biological samples and their analysis, etc.
  • Authorises police to record signatures, handwriting or other behavioural attributes for the analytical purpose
  • Empowers a Magistrate:
    To direct any person to give measurements; a Magistrate can also direct law enforcement officials to collect such data both in the case of convicted and non convicted persons of specified category.
  • Empowers the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
    To collect, store and preserve the Records data for future use by law agencies.

    The National Crime Records Bureau, abbreviated to NCRB, is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code and Special and Local Laws NCRB is headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • Under the new Bill, Those who refuse can be charged under Section 186 of the Indian Penal Code on charges of obstructing a public servant from discharging their duty.

Empower a Magistrate:
To direct any person to give measurements; a Magistrate can also direct law enforcement officials to collect fingerprints, footprint impressions and photographs in the case of a specified category of convicted and non-convicted persons;

Empower police or prison officers: To take measurement of any person who resists and refuses to give measurements.

Authorises police to ord signatures, handwriting or other behaviour attributes: Referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for the purposes of analysis.

It empowers a Magistrate to direct any person to give measurements and also empowers the police or prison officer to take measurements of any person who resists or refuses to give measurements.

Resistance to or refusal to allow the taking of measurements under this Act shall be deemed to be an offence under section 185 of the Indian Penal Code,
  • The Bill also seeks to apply these provisions to persons held under any PREVENTIVE DETENTION LAW.
  • If a person with no Criminal background is released without trial or acquitted by the court, all records of measurements so taken shall be destroyed.
The Bill also authorises for taking measurements of convicts and other persons for identification and investigation in criminal matters. It doesn't define the other persons implying its ambit beyond convicts, arrested persons, or detainees.

Police personnel up to the rank of Head Constable have been authorised to record the measurements.
  • It also enables NCRB to share the records with any other law enforcement agency The process started from the UPA regime with the digitization of fingerprints for integration in the national database called Crime and Criminal Tracking Networ System (CCTNS).

The NDA government aims to integrate iris scans and facial recognition systems to the database.

  1. New technology: provisions for the use of modern techniques to capture and appropriate body measurements. New "measurement" techniques being used advanced countries are giving credible and reliable results and are recognized world over. The world has undergone technological & scientific changes, crime and its trend has increased. To upgrade Crime-solving Technology in line with global standards.
  2. The Bill seeks to expand the "ambit of persons" whose measurements can be taken as this will help the investigating agencies to gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.
  3. Will help in unique identification of a person involved in any crime and will assist the investigating agencies in solving the criminal case," Will make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious and will also help in increasing the conviction rate.

  1. It violates Article 20 (3) as it implies use of force in collection of biological information, could also lead to narco analysis and brain mapping.
  2. Violates Right to Privacy as held in the K.S. Puttaswamy case.
  3. Violates human rights provisions as laid out in the United Nations charter.
  4. The implied use of force in clause 6(1) to take measurements violates the rights of prisoners laid down in a catena of Supreme Court judgements beginning with A K Gopalan 1950, Kharag Singh 1964, Charles Sobhraj 1978, Sheela Barse 1983, Pramod Kumar Saxena 2008.

Violation of Right to be Forgotten enshrined in Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution in terms of the Puttaswamy judgment.

Beyond Legislative competence as it affects fundamental rights.

Article - 20(3)
Self-Incrimination: "no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a within against himself" i.e. immunity to an accused against self-incrimination. "No man is obliged to be a witness against himself."

In Nandini Satpothy v PL. Dani the SC held that the objective of Article 20(3) is to protect the accused from unnecessary police harassment and the right against self-incrimination is available to witness and the accused in the same manner, and it is applicable at every stage where information is furnished. The privilege under Article 20(3) is applied at the stage of police investigation when the information is extracted.

In M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra, it was held that a person whose name is mentioned in the first information report as an accused can claim protection under Article 20(3).

In Balasaheb v. State of Maharashtra, it was held that a witness in a police case, who is also accused in the complaint case for the same incident, cannot claim absolute immunity from stifying in the case. However, he may refuse to answer those questions which tend to criminate him.

In Gobind Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, the Court held that the mental state of an individual comes under the ambit of 'Right to Privacy'. Later, developments in this area observed that the authority of the State to compel an individual to expose the parts of his life which he wishes to keep to himself is ultra vires the Constitution as it is in contravention of the rights guaranteed under Article 20(3) and 21.

In Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court held that Right to Privacy is not guaranteed under the Constitution. The courts have allowed DNA tests on certain occasions to be used in an investigation for producing evidence.

In the case of Kanchan Bediv. Gurpreet Singh Bedi, the question arose on the parentage of the infant, and the mother filed an application for conducting DNA test, to which the father opposed arguing that his rights would be violated. The Court held that where the parentage of a child is in question, directing a person to undergo a DNA Test does not amount to a violation of fundamental rights. The Court relied on the judgment given Vineeta Saha v. NCT of Delhi, where the Division Bench ordered a DNA Test to be Conducted on the foetus of the rape victim.

Why Need Such Law?
The world has undergone technological and scientific changes, Crime and its have crime and its trend have increased.

Advanced countries across the globe are relying on new "measurement" techniques for reliable results.

It was felt necessary to expand the "ambit of persons" whose measurements can be taken as this will help investigating agencies gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.

The Bill will not only help our investigation agencies but also increase prosecution.

There is also a chance of an increase in conviction rates in courts through this.

The main difference between detention and arrest is whether a person is charged with a crime or not.
  • In case of a person being detained, he is not formally accused of committing a crime but is simply restricted and kept in police custody on a reasonable suspicion.
  • During the time in custody, he is questioned or investigated by the police authorities. After the police questioning, the person detained would be released.
  • The situation would be entirely different if a person was arrested. A person can only be arrested if he is charged for a crime and once, he is arrested and must be produced before a magistrate within the next 24 hours. (Article 22).
Written By: Khayamul Hassan - University law college, Vinoba Bhave University

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