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Most of you might have heard about the term criminal. Criminal is often fantasized in films and given different shades as antagonists in various films. Some of the films may tag them as born criminals, some of them may tag as criminals due to the circumstances. Anyways, these often create some different impressions about criminals in our mindsets. Basically, criminal is a term that can be associated with the criminal laws of India. one who commits a crime can be termed as a criminal. It is not as seen in the movies. How criminals should be prosecuted, what all are their rights, how they should be treated, how they should be convicted, all these procedures and rules have been framed in the law itself. It is as per the criminal procedure code and other relevant criminal substantial laws and procedural laws. The most discussed and controversial criminal procedure law enacted recently and attracted a lot of criticism is The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022. Let us look into the key features of The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 through this blog.
The Background of The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 28th March 2022 and passed on 4th April 2022. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 6th April, 2022. Now the bill has been passed by the president to form an enactment. The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 is an act that empowers the investigating or law enforcement officers to adopt certain identification measures to identify the criminals during the criminal procedure of investigation and prosecution. The parent act of the law which deals with the same matter was The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. 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. The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 which also deals with the same kind of matter is pending in the Lok Sabha. Since it has not passed, the act that has been dealing with the identification processes is The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 which upgraded to its new form with the latest updates is The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022.
Key Features of the Act
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 deals with the identification processes carried out on criminals in the course of criminal procedure. The act is mainly built upon certain pillars. The key features of the act can be explained according to the pillars. The major pillars of the act explaining the key features of the act can be summarised as:
- The type of data that may be collected
- Persons from whom such data may be collected
- The authority that may authorise such collection
The Type of Data that may be Collected
Even though the act permits the investigators or other officers to collect data, all types of data cannot be collected. Only certain types of data as specified by the act are entitled to be collected. The data that can be collected are as follows:
- 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 from whom such Data may be Collected
Does the act give an anarchy power to the officers to collect anybody’s data to be collected? No, certainly not. The act specifies whose data can be collected and in what circumstances. The officers can collect the data of the following persons:
- 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
The Authority that may Authorise such Collection
If an act of this kind has been enacted and does it empower each and everyone in the road to collect the above data on the above persons? The act clearly says who all are authorized to collect the data as per the provisions of the act. The authority to collect the data conferred by the act is as follows:
- 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 the first class. In case of persons required to maintain good behaviour or peace, the Executive Magistrate
Why does The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 Attract Criticism?
The act empowers the said officers to collect too kind of personal data such as biological samples, signatures, handwriting etc. The right to privacy which is guaranteed as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian constitution mandates the state to respect and protect the privacy of individuals. The Indian constitution gives certain safeguards to the arrested persons as specified in Article 20 of the constitution. This act denies all the privacy concerns of the arrested persons. The act has been termed as the criminal procedure identification act. The person is accused before he gets convicted. The accused also falls under this identification category and even if he is acquitted before the court, his privacy will be infringed forever. The major concerns and issues of the act are as follows:
- Data can be collected not just from convicted persons but also from persons arrested for any offence and from any other person to aid an investigation
- The data collected does not need to have any relationship with evidence required for the case
- The data is stored in a central database which can be accessed widely and not just in the case file
- The data is stored for 75 years (effectively, for life); and
- Safeguards have been diluted by lowering the level of the official authority to collect the data.
The Criminal Procedure identification act may empower the law enforcement body of India to easily identify and prosecute the culprit with scientific methods. It may enhance the criminal prosecution of the country. Will it establish equal justice? Justice is not for the victims, but also for the accused also. There should be a proportionality of obstructing the rights of one-person in order to protect the rights of the other persons. Addressing the criticism concerns. Hope this act will transform the criminal jurisprudence of India to a better level. Study the new enactment for your competitive examinations like UPSC, KAS and other PSC examinations. Study with Entri and conquer heights. Keep studying, keep winning.