Criminal Identification Act – a precursor to the DNA Bill

New Delhi, Delhi, India–Business Wire India • Bill part of the government’s efforts to modernize and establish an effective criminal identification process. • The collection of biological samples opens up the possibility of using DNA database technology in criminal investigations. The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill 2022, recently passed in parliament, ensures more effective and timely investigation of crimes through the use of modern technology. Experts say this is an important development as it allows for the recording of accurate physical and biological samples, which they say is a precursor to paving the way for the technology bill. DNA.

The Criminal Procedure Bill, provisions relating to the evaluation of biological evidence for the purpose of identifying perpetrators of criminal offences. According to experts, DNA profiling cannot then be ruled out. And it’s almost certain to add up to a DNA database of criminal offenders. This is because there has been an increased demand for DNA testing in India as DNA forensic evidence is undeniably the best crime fighting technology in the world. As a result, more and more courts are asking for DNA evidence in criminal investigations, especially in sexual offenses and rape cases. With advances in technology that allow it to be used for criminal investigations, reliance on eye evidence in court can be significantly reduced.

Speaking on the Criminal Identification Act, Mr. Keshav Kumar, IPS (Retired), former Director General of Police and Director of Gujarat State Anti-Corruption Bureau, said ”The bill on Criminal Procedure (Identification) 2022, which is now a law has further strengthened the power of law enforcement. The law now includes physical measurements such as fingerprints, palm prints, footprints, photographs, iris and retina scans, biological samples and their analysis and behavioral attributes, including signatures, handwritings or any other examination referred to in Sections 53 or 53A of the CrPC. The CrPC already mandates the collection of blood, semen and swabs in sexual offences. This also includes DNA profiling of bodily fluids collected during the investigation. He added, “Several cases have already been convicted by honorable courts based on matching DNA profiles in the investigation. DNA evidence is the “gold standard” of all evidence. In this context, this is a great leap forward for law enforcement against crime and criminals. This is an enabling proposal and a springboard for the DNA profiling bill on the anvil as it will generate a huge database for law enforcement agencies. ”Experts also believe that this decision could ease the way for the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulatory Bill which provides a framework for the establishment, operation and regulation of national and regional DNA databases. , with a broader scope (includes unidentified bodies, missing persons, victims, offenders…). If implemented, it will further empower the criminal justice system by using modern techniques to facilitate crime investigation processes, such as in the case of human trafficking and other heinous crimes, contributing thereby increasing conviction rates.

Aby Joseph, DNA expert and policy watcher, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forensic Science at Amity University in Dubai, said: “This is a big step for lawmakers to overhaul the system. Indian criminal justice system and bring it up to world standards. Although the DNA Bill for Database Management is still pending in Parliament, the need for such legislation is now widely accepted by all stakeholders. The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022 addresses a more fundamental problem: the lack of a national legal framework to collect, analyze and store biological samples/DNA profiles. I am confident this will pave the way for the comprehensive DNA law the country has been waiting for. The need for a DNA regulatory council, as envisaged in the bill, becomes even more critical now to enforce quality assurance standards in the collection, storage and analysis of DNA samples. DNA, as well as to ensure strict data protection. Meanwhile, privacy concerns raised in the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill have been adequately addressed by Home Secretary Shri Amit Shah in parliament. He said the government’s intention is only to modernize the country’s criminal identification process. Emphasizing that the data collected will be secure and protected and that in the event of acquittal or release of the person, all the material collected will be destroyed. The Criminal Identification Bill further highlighted the need for better infrastructure to realize the full potential of scientific methods in the criminal justice system. In the context of the bill, which requires analyses, including DNA profiling, the current infrastructure and supporting ecosystem must be strengthened and more DNA experts must be recruited to help with the operational execution on field. It is essential to create an enabling environment for the use of scientific tools and knowledge as well as the effective implementation of processes.

According to some sources, considerable improvements have been made in the infrastructure and skills of the workforce thanks to the awareness program aimed at training frontline responders in the proper collection and preservation of DNA evidence. Under the Nirbhaya Fund, 21 state FSLs have received funds to establish a state-of-the-art DNA fingerprinting lab. To date, there are 30 state forensic laboratories that have a well-established DNA laboratory. However, at least 200 DNA experts are needed to support the existing infrastructure to speed up justice and limit recidivism.

The ICC Bill is enabling legislation that, in conjunction with other legislation, will help pave the way for further technological advancements within the criminal justice system, of which DNA technology is a key component. DNA evidence continues to play an important role in the international criminal justice system by advancing investigations and charging alleged perpetrators. Hence, the criminal justice community globally has become hugely dependent on forensic DNA analysis, and it is time for India to embrace the same sooner rather than later.

About GTH-GA Gordon Thomas Honeywell – Government Affairs is a world-renowned public affairs consultancy specializing in forensic DNA policy, legislation and law. For nearly twenty years, GTH-GA consultants have worked in more than 50 countries and states on policies and regulations to establish or expand DNA databases of criminal offenders. GTH-GA works closely with government officials, crime labs, law enforcement and industry. GTH-GA operates the website which has been used since 2000 as the world’s leading source of DNA policy information.


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