Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022

  • 05 Apr 2022

On 4th April 2022, the Lok Sabha has passed the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022.

The Bill seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.

Why this Bill?

  • The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 has limitations in data collections as it allows police officers to collect certain identifiable information (fingerprints and footprints) of persons including convicts and arrested persons. But, with advances in technology other measurements such biological samples and behavioural attributes can be used for criminal investigations.

Key Features of the Bill

  • 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 authorise such collection.

Data permitted to be Collected

  • Biological samples, and their analysis;
  • Behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting; and
  • Examinations under sections 53 and 53A of CrPC (includes blood, semen, hair samples, and swabs, and analyses such as DNA profiling)

Persons whose Data to be Collected

  • Convicted or arrested for any offence. However, biological samples may be taken forcibly only from persons arrested for offences against a woman or a child, or if the offence carries a minimum of seven years imprisonment.
  • Persons detained under any preventive detention law.
  • On the order of Magistrate, from any person (not just an arrested person) to aid investigation.

Who may require/direct to collect Data

  • Officer in charge of a police station, or of rank Head Constable or above. In addition, a Head Warder of a prison.
  • Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate of first class. In case of persons required to maintain good behaviour or peace, the Executive Magistrate.

Storage of Data

  • 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.

Punishment for Resistance to give Data

  • Under the 2022 Bill, resistance or refusal to give data will be considered an offence of obstructing a public servant from doing his duty under Section 186 of IPC, attracting a jail term of three months or fine up to Rs 500 or both.