Is the Criminal identification Bill 2022 not a violation Of Personal liberty?
Author: Divya Jyoti, Research Fellow, Goeman Bind
The criminal Identification Bill is to be superseded by the ‘Prisoners identification act’. It is really important to understand why the bill has been formulated in the Lok Sabha. This article compares both the acts and the amendments that have been brought in. Predominantly, the incentives are the similar but it has to be understood that it is the wider concept and repealing this colonial law would be given a new direction which is albeit making the investigation process uncomplicated and to retain the records which renders it viable for the authorities to have a clear check on the criminals , that would ease in investigation. The Bill envisages expanding the ambit of ” persons “and measurement to help agencies so that can get enough evidence.
What is Criminal Identification Bill 2022? Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 which enables investigating officers to collect the biometric details of prisoners. The Bill proposes to allow Police collect finger impressions, palm prints impressions, footprint impressions, photographs, iris and retina scans, physical and biological samples. It also proposes collection of behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting or any other examination referred under Section 53 or Section 53A of CrPC. Under the present regime, the Police are permitted to take finger and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicts and non-convicted persons. The record of measurements shall be retained for a period of 75 years from the date of collection.
How does it function? It provides that persons resisting arrest under the act would be punished under section 186 IPC: jail for 3 months or fine up to Rs 500 or both. But Govt has also cleared that who are not convicted or arrested for crime against women or children or those who are in custody for an offence punishable with imprisonment for a period less than seven years , who can deny for the biological samples? can deny permission to give their biological samples. What were the statements of objects and reasons? The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 was enacted to authorise the taking of measurements and photographs of convicts and other persons. The term “measurements “used in the said Act is limited to allow for taking of finger impressions and foot-print impressions of limited category of convicted and non-convicted persons and photographs on the order of a Magistrate.
New ‘‘measurement’’ techniques being used in advanced countries are giving credible and reliable results and are recognised world over. The Act does not provide for taking these body measurements as many of the techniques and technologies had not been developed at that point of time. It is, therefore, essential to make provisions for modern techniques to capture and record appropriate body measurements in place of existing limited measurements.
The said Act, in its present form, provides access to limited category of persons whose body measurements can be taken. It is considered necessary 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.
Therefore, there is a need for expanding the scope and ambit of the ‘‘measurements’’
which can be taken under the provisions of law as it will help in unique identification of a
person involved in any crime and will assist the investigating agencies in solving the criminal case.
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 provides for legal sanction for
taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such
measurements and will make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious and
will also help in increasing the conviction rate.
The said Bill, inter alia, seeks:—
(i) to define ‘‘measurements’’ to include finger-impressions, palm-print and
foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, biological samples
and their analysis, etc.;
(ii) to empower the National Crime Records Bureau of India to collect, store and preserve the record of measurements and for sharing, dissemination, destruction and
disposal of records;
(iii) to empower a Magistrate to direct any person to give measurements;
(iv) to empower police or prison officer to take measurements of any person who
resists or refuses to give measurements.
The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.
So it’s not pertinent to say that it’s infringing the person’s liberty but Instead we should say that it’s apt to investigate and identifying easily, and the innocent would not be affected by this so we cannot say it’s a violation of personal liberty. As new techniques are important to tackle new-generation crimes.