The Parliament has passed the Criminal Procedure Code (Identity) Bill 2022, which allows investigating officers to collect biometric details of detainees and criminals.
Opposition parties called the bill a “violation of human rights”. The bill seeks to replace the Prisoners Identification Act, 1920, which allows for the collection of certain identifiable information about certain persons, such as those convicted of an offence.
The Rajya Sabha passed the bill by a voice vote after Home Minister Amit Shah allayed concerns raised by the opposition, which claimed that the draft law was draconian. Earlier, the bill was passed by Lok Sabha.
The union home minister said that the legislation was needed to increase the conviction rate and help the investigation agencies, as courts demand scientific proof.
Opposition members have raised concerns that the bill violates the right to privacy and could lead to potential misuse of the database (under the bill). Shah, however, said that the bill has provisions to ensure that human rights are not violated.
He announced that the government was preparing a new prison manual that would be circulated to the states. Shah said the bill should be analysed along with the jail manual, as it will take care of the rights of prisoners.
“I want to assure you that this is not going to violate the privacy of anyone,” Shah said. He said that the data collected will remain completely secure and the government will make sure there are no loopholes in the bill that can lead to the violation of privacy and human rights.
Currently, the Police are permitted to take finger and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicts and non-convicted persons.
The bill also proposes the collection of behavioural attributes, including signatures, handwriting or any other examination referred under Section 53 or Section 53A of CrPC. It further provides that any resistance to the taking measurements will be an offence under Section 186 (obstructing public servant) of IPC, attracting a jail term of three months or a fine up to ₹500 or both.