The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a controversial bill that legally sanction the police for obtaining physical and biological samples from convicts and detainees for the investigation of criminal matters, with Home Minister Amit Shah asserting it will act as a defender of human rights of law-abiding citizens, according to news agency PTI report.
In addition, the Home Minister sought to allay concerns voiced by MPs about invasion of privacy and insisted that all data collected under the proposed law will be protected.
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill
The criminal procedure bill seeks to replace the Prisoners Identification Act of 1920 which was passed by a vote after Shah allayed fears raised by the opposition, which claimed the bill was " draconian" and could convert India into a "police state".
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill 2022 seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. The bill provides for legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who must take such measures “in order that the investigation of crime more efficient, effective and urgent.”
It seeks to define "measures" to include fingerprints, palm prints, footprints, photographs, iris and retinal scans, and physical and biological samples and their analysis.
The bill seeks to allow the National Crime Records Bureau of India to collect, store and maintain a record of measurements, exchange records, publish, destroy and delete records.
The bill also seeks to empower a Magistrate to direct anyone to take action and to allow a police or prison officer to take action for anyone who resists or refuses to take action. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni.
In an attempt to protect the human rights of four law-abiding citizens and send a strong message to society by punishing criminals, the Home Secretary said, “Its sole aim is to improve the conviction rate in the country and protect human rights. Crore the rights of law-abiding citizens and send a strong message to society. It had not been brought for any misuse."
The Home Minister claimed that the bill had been introduced to technologically enhance policing in the country. "We have no intention of abusing the provisions of the law. Its goal is to keep our police ahead of criminals. Next-generation crimes cannot be tackled with old technologies. We have to try to bring the criminal justice system up to date. next age."
He said the government is implementing the bill to meet "T" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for SMART (Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Techno savvy and Trained) policing in 2014.
"In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the concept of Smart Policing. Where 'T' stands for technology. We are here to fulfill this promise made by England, Canada, South Africa, Australia and the USA, who are champions of human rights have more stringent laws than this," he said.
Meanwhile, slamming opposition members who raised the issue of human rights, saying that leaders should be concerned about the human rights of law-abiding crime victims, according to the ANI news agency report.
"The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill 2022 must be analyzed from a comprehensive perspective. No one escapes discussion...but the discussion must be based on logic and facts. The discussion must not be to satisfy the vote bank but to solve the problem,” Shah said.
He added that opposition members are concerned about criminals, but the Modi government is concerned about the country's law-abiding citizens.
“Those who speak of human rights, I ask you to think of those who are being harassed by criminals. They care about those involved in robberies and rapes. They only care about criminals; Modi's government cares about people who live by the law."
The Minister of the Interior said that the government believes in the investigation, which is done on the basis of data and information, and not on the basis of third-degree torture.
"Those who practice appeasement policy raise concerns about this law. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was a law that was made in the interest of the country and was removed because of appeasement policy. We do not vote on banking policies, we enter in politics to secure the country and take it to the highest position in the world.”
Shah criticized the opposition for misusing the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and said the UAPA is not for any particular sect or religion.
"In 2019, there were more than 51 lakh cases in the country and 1200 cases under UAPA. What do you want to say? The public has shouldered the responsibility of Narendra Modi to maintain the security of the nation. Why not impose it? UAPA about those who work against the country? UAPA is not enforced by looking at anyone's sect or religion, but its calling is only for one sect or religion."
Shah said that 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence. “Due to lack of evidence, 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence, are they human rights or not? One member asked if there would be no crimes afterwards. Section 302 has been in place for so long, right? Stop killing? Also 302 deleted? 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence, is it a human right or not?" Shah said.
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