The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022. The bill seeks to enable investigating officers to collect certain identifiable information (fingerprints and footprints) of persons including convicts and arrested persons.
It was passed by the Lok Sabha on April 4.
A motion to refer the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022, to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha was rejected by a division with 59 voting in favour and 97 voting against.
During a discussion in the House, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the concerns about human rights violations raised by the opposition MPs, were not correct and further said that the victims of a crime also have human rights. He also said that those caught by the law also have human rights.
Stating the conviction rate in the country, he said that there has been only 39 per cent conviction rate in rape cases, 38 per cent in theft cases, and 27 per cent in child abuse cases. “So, should not we endeavour for better system, strengthening the criminal justice system in the country?” he asked.
Referring to the strictness of the laws, Shah said: “The conviction rate in South Africa is 82 per cent, 84 per cent in the UK, 69 per cent, 94 per cent in Australia, and 93 per cent in the US.”
Noting that the main objective of this bill is to strengthen the prosecution agencies to increase the conviction rate in the country and this will only possible when the prosecution agencies will have scientific evidence.
Further, he also assured the House that the data and the records collected by the government will not be accessed by third parties.
Describing that this Bill does not intend to infringe on anyone’s privacy, the Home Minister said these data will be safely preserved at the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) and the government will set up a committee to formulate a policy to safely use these collected data.
He also said that the NCRB has data of one crore figure print and after the passing of this Bill this data will increase substantially.
He also said that once these data will be collected, the police station will send the sample of the suspect to NCRB and within minutes, the finger print or other identities will be matched and if the suspect’s details are there, he can be easily identified and details will be directly sent to the concerned police station.
To keep its privacy and safety of the data, no investigation agencies will have direct access to the NCRB data centre where this evidence will be stored.
Shah also said that while amending the IPC, CrPC and Evidence Acts, the drafts will be sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Home Affairs and after detailed scrutiny, the Bills will be brought to Parliament for further discussion.
Earlier while debating on the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, Congress MP P Chidambaram urged the government to refer to the standing committee or a select committee and also termed the Bill as “unconstitutional, illegal”.
He also made a point that the records collected could be shared with any law enforcement agency.
Speaking on the Bill, the DMK MP T Siva said that the Bill should be discussed more elaborately and Athe bill to be referred to the select committee.
Declaring the Bill as “draconian”, the CPI-M MP Binoy Viswam said the government wants to threaten everybody and wants to take away all the human rights, rights of democratic movement of the country.