The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022, which proposes to enable police to collect biometric measurements of arrested or convicted prisoners, was tabled by Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra in Lok Sabha on Monday.
Opposition parties termed the Bill “unconstitutional” and demanded a vote before it was tabled in the House. The Bill, however, was introduced after 120 members voted in favour and 58 against it, according to PTI.
The biometric measurements involve storing and analysing physical and biological samples, iris and retina scans, signatures and handwriting of arrested or convicted prisoners, according to The Hindu. It would also be applied to persons detained under preventive detention laws.
Mishra said that the current Identification of Prisoners Act was formed in 1920 and only allows collecting fingerprints and footprints of certain convicted persons, according to PTI.
“It has been 102 years now,” Teni told the Lok Sabha, according to ANI. “The world has undergone technological and scientific changes, crime and its trend have increased.”
The Union minister for home affairs further said that the Bill would help investigative agencies in solving criminal cases.
“The Bill will not only help our investigation agencies but also increase prosecution,” he said, according to ANI. “There is also a chance of an increase in conviction rate in courts through this.”
Congress leader Manish Tewari said the Bill violated Article 20, Sub-Article 3 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which guarantee freedom for citizens to live a life of dignity among other things. He added the Bill was beyond the legislative competence of the House.
Tewari said he feared misuse of the words “biological samples and their analysis” mentioned in the Bill and said it could lead to narco analysis and brain mapping, PTI reported.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Bill violates the right to freedom and personal liberty of citizens.
“The law can ask those people who have been convicted by the court to give their biometric measurements,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “However, the present Bill seeks to empower the police and court to take measurements of persons who are undertrial and who are suspected to be involved in a case or there is a presumption against a person that he may, in future, commit any illegal act.”
Revolutionary Socialist Party member NK Premachandran also opposed the Bill saying it allows police to collect DNA samples of convicts of minor crimes and questioned the intention of empowering the police to such an extent.