Why in the News?
Recently, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act,2022 has come into force after being passed by the Parliament in April 2022.
- It replaces the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, and authorizes police officers to take measurements of people convicted, arrested or facing trial in criminal cases.
What is the difference between Identification of Prisoners Act 1920 and Criminal Procedure Identification Act?
Comparison of key provisions of the 1920 Act and the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
|Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022|
|Data permitted to be collected|
|Persons whose data may be collected|
|Persons who may require/ direct collection of data|
Issues to be considered
- Issues of Privacy:
- The Bill permits the collection of certain identifiable information about individuals for the investigation of crime.
- The information specified under the Bill forms part of the personal data of individuals and is thus protected under the right to privacy of individuals.
- The right to privacy has been recognised as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court (2017).
- The Court laid out principles that should govern any law that restricts this right.
- These include a public purpose, a rational nexus of the law with such purpose, and that this is the least intrusive way to achieve the purpose.
- Issues of Equality: The issue arises due to the fact that:
(a) data can be collected not just from convicted persons but also from persons arrested for any offense and from any other person to aid an investigation
(b) the data collected does not need to have any relationship with evidence required for the case
(c) the data is stored in a central database which can be accessed widely and not just in the case file
(d) the data is stored for 75 years (effectively, for life)
(e) safeguards have been diluted by lowering the level of the official authorised to collect the data
What is the Significance of the Act?
- Modern Techniques are employed :The Act makes provisions for the use of modern techniques to capture and record appropriate body measurements.
- While if we talk about the existing law, it allowed taking only fingerprint and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicted persons.
- Investigation will become more efficient:
- It provides 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.
- Investing Agencies will have a helping hand:
- It seeks 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.
The way forward?
The above law may have serious repercussions on the privacy and equality of the people. But since it has now become the law of the land , therefore the efforts are needed from the side of the government that such efforts must align with the Right to privacy as well. This is because privacy is a fundamental right after KS PUTTASWAMY JUDGEMENT of the Supreme Court.