Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 9
In the Lok Sabha on Thursday, a new Bill was introduced that allows law enforcement agencies to collect and store DNA samples in banks for crime investigations and identification of missing persons and unidentified deceased people.
The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018, seeks to create, for the first time in India, a legal mechanism to regulate and use DNA technology for establishing the identity of victims of crimes, offenders (first and repeat), suspects, undertrials, missing people and victims of disasters.
Introduced by Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan and opposed by Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for violation of privacy, the Bill once passed will enable the Centre to set up a national DNA data bank and regional DNA data banks to store and maintain DNA profiles of a certain section of people.
The draft law says law enforcement doesn’t need any written consent to collect DNA samples from persons arrested for offences punishable with death or with imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years. Only in the remaining offences do law enforcers need written consents from persons from whose bodily substance the DNA sample is to be taken. Even here, if the person refuses consent, the police can approach a magistrate for permission. The draft law provides for the establishment of a DNA regulatory body at the central level to frame rules for DNA data banks and to accredit testing labs.
“DNA technology helps in investigation of crimes through biological evidence, including semen in rape cases; blood in murders; saliva in identifying the source of anonymous threat letters. In civil cases, it helps victims of disasters like cyclones and air crashes. A number of crimes are committed by repeat offenders whose apprehension and conviction will be aided by comparison of biological evidence at the scene of the crime with DNA profiles stored in DNA data banks,” the draft law says.
BANK TO STORE DATA
- It seeks to regulate and use DNA technology for establishing identity of victims, offenders, suspects, undertrials, missing people and victims of disasters
- If passed, it will enable the Centre to set up a national DNA data bank and regional DNA data banks to store and maintain profiles of certain people
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