Amid protest, MoS Ajay Mishra tables criminal procedure Bill in LS : The Tribune India

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Amid protest, MoS Ajay Mishra tables criminal procedure Bill in LS

Amid protest, MoS Ajay Mishra tables criminal procedure Bill in LS

Union MoS for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra speaks in the Lok Sabha. PTI



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28

Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni today introduced the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill amid vehement protests from Opposition leaders, who called it “illegal” and “unconstitutional” and also forced a vote on its introduction.

To expand scope of law

  • Bill seeks to expand scope and ambit of ‘measurements’ that can be taken under the law as it will help in unique identification of a person involved in crime
  • Amendment Bill defines ‘measurements’ to include finger impressions, palm print and footprint impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, biological samples and their analysis

The Bill aims at authorising the police to take measurements of convicts and other persons for the purpose of identification and investigation in criminal matters to preserve records. Broadly, it aims at providing legal sanction to the police to take physical and biological samples of convicts as well as persons accused of crimes.

Congress’ Manish Tewari called the Bill “in derogation of Article 20, Sub-Article 3 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India” and beyond the legislative competence of the House.

He said Article 20, Sub-Article 3 explicitly states that no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Tewari also raised apprehensions on usage of words like “biological samples and their analysis” saying they could lead to narco analysis and brain mapping. The implied use of force to take measurements violates the rights of prisoners violates a catena of Supreme Court judgments, he said.

Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “The Bill seeks to empower the police and court to take measurements of persons who are undertrial and suspected to be involved in a case on the presumption that they may commit illegal act in the future.”

Dismissing the apprehensions, Mishra asserted that the move was required to make provisions for the use of modern techniques to capture and record appropriate body measurements.

Pointing that the existing law, Identification of Prisoners Act, dates back to 1920, Mishra said it allowed taking only fingerprint and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicted. Opposition members forced a vote on the introduction of the Bill. The opposition move was defeated as 120 members voted in favour of introduction of the bill, while 58 members were against it.

Mishra said the Bill would grant legal sanction to take body measurements and make investigation of crime more efficient.

Consultations on the Bill were held with state governments and union territories and everybody had supported the measure, he said, adding that the Law Commission too had suggested changes to the law in 1980, but the recommendations were not acted upon for 42 years.

RSP member NK Premachandran said the Bill granted rights to the police to collect DNA samples of convicts of minor crimes and questioned the intention for empowering the police to such an extent. BSP member Ritiesh Pandey and TMC member Sougata Ray also raised objections, urging Speaker Om Birla to not allow its introduction.

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