The President of India has given assent to the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, which empowers police to obtain physical and biological samples of convicts and the accused of crimes.
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act allows police to collect finger impressions, palm prints expressions, footprint impressions, photographs, iris and retina scans, physical and biological samples. The act also allows the authorities to collect behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting or any other samples which are included under Section 53 or Section 53A of CrPC.
The Act replaces the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, which was passed by Lok Sabha on April 4 and Rajya Sabha on April 6.
“The following Act of Parliament received the assent of the President on the 18th April, 2022 and is hereby published for general information:- The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 No.11 of 2022,” a gazette notification issued by the government said.
The Act, apart from providing legal sanction to police to obtain physical and biological samples of convicts and detainees for investigation in criminal matter also empowers a magistrate to order measurements or photographs of a person to be taken to aid the investigation of an offence. All materials must be destroyed in case of acquittal or discharge of the person.
Union Home Minister, while debating on the legislation in Rajya Sabha said that the biometric data of political detainees would not be collected and the proposed law would exclude brain mapping and polygraphs test for its ambit.
“Under section 3, the government of India has the right to make rules. We will define it and ensure that no person involved in a political agitation has to give (physical and biometric) measurements only for political agitation. But if a political leader is arrested in a criminal case, then he will have to be at par with a citizen.”
The opposition parties slammed the legislation as “unconstitutional” and “draconian” and claimed it could be misused.
However Shah said that no measurements would be taken for violation of prohibitory orders promulgated by police. The legislation is aimed at improving the conviction rate.
“It is aimed at building capacity for the police and forensic teams.”