Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022
What is Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022?
The Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022 empowers the police to obtain physical and biological samples of convicts and those accused of crimes.
The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 allows police officers to collect certain identifiable information (fingerprints and footprints) of persons including convicts and arrested persons. Also, a Magistrate may order measurements or photographs of a person to be taken to aid the investigation of an offence. In case of acquittal or discharge of the person, all material must be destroyed.
In 1980, while examining the 1920 Act, the Law Commission of India noted the need to revise it to bring it in line with modern trends in criminal investigations.
What are the features of the Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022?
The Bill expands:
(i) the type of data that may be collected,
(ii) persons from whom such data may be collected, and (iii) the authority that may authorize such collection.
(iv) It also provides for the data to be stored in a central database.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the central agency to maintain the records. It will share the data with law enforcement agencies. Further, states/UTs may notify agencies to collect, preserve, and share data in their respective jurisdictions.
The data collected will be retained in digital or electronic form for 75 years. Records will be destroyed in case of persons who are acquitted after all appeals or released without trial. However, in such cases, a Court or Magistrate may direct the retention of details after recording reasons in writing.
Can a person be compelled to give his measurement?
Any person who is arrested for an offence that does not involve women or children and is punishable with imprisonment of fewer than 7 years, then such person can be compelled to provide all other measurements excluding biological measurements if refused; it shall amount to an offence u/s 186 of Indian Penal Code.
What will be done with the above measurements?
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be empowered to:
Collect the record of measurements from the State Government or Union territory Administration or any other law enforcement agencies;
Store, preserve and destroy the record of measurements at the national level
Process such records with relevant criminal records
Share such records with any law enforcement agency.
When will the above measurements be deleted?
The measurements will be kept for 75 years from the date of collection of such data.
What is the difference between The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 and The Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022?
The examples below illustrate some of the consequences of the provisions of this Bill.
Illustration 1. Person W is found guilty of rash and negligent driving (and fined Rs 1,000). He may have his signature collected and stored in a central database for 75 years. The Bill permits this.
Illustration 2. Person X is arrested for an offence. He refuses to give his fingerprints. He is charged with preventing a public servant from performing his duty (Section 186 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860). His fingerprints are forcibly taken under both cases. He is subsequently discharged from the original case. However, as he is guilty under Section 186 of the Indian Penal Code in the second case, his fingerprints can be stored for 75 years. This implies that anyone who is arrested for any offence and refuses to give measurements can have their data stored for 75 years, even if they are acquitted in the main case.
Illustration 3. Person Y is arrested. The case goes on for 20 years through several appellate levels (this is not unusual). His records will remain in the database for this period. He gets acquitted. He is arrested in another case just before the final acquittal in the first case. The records can be kept in the database until the second case is decided. This process can be continued through a third case and so on.
Illustration 4. Person Z defies Section 144 orders under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (unlawful assembly) and is arrested. His fingerprints are taken (the Bill does not require a connection between the measurement and the evidence needed for investigation). He is found guilty under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobeying an order of a public servant) and fined Rs 200. His fingerprints will be in the database for 75 years.
1. The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920
2. Criminal Procedure Identification Bill 2022
3. PRS India