Bill to provide DNA profiling of criminals in Lok Sabha

A bill seeking to provide for the use and application of DNA technology for establishing the identity of criminals, victims, missing persons, and unknown deceased persons under a regulatory framework may come up in Lok Sabha for its consideration and pass

A bill seeking to provide for the use and application of DNA technology for establishing the identity of criminals, victims, missing persons, and unknown deceased persons under a regulatory framework may come up in Lok Sabha for its consideration and passage.
 

The DNA technology (use and application) regulation bill, 2018, introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan during Monsoon Session in August, is listed in the Lower House’s list of business for Monday.

 

The bill stipulates for the establishment of a national DNA databank and regional DNA databanks to store and maintain the DNA profiles of criminals, undertrials, missing persons, unknown deceased in accordance its provisions relating to the use and access to information, its retention and expunction

 

Every Data Bank will maintain the crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index, offenders’ index, missing persons’ index, and unknown deceased persons’ index.

 

It also provides for the establishment of a DNA regulatory board which would advice both the central and state governments “on all issues” relating to establishing of DNA laboratories and DNA databanks; lying down guidelines; standards and procedures for establishment and functioning of such laboratories and data banks.

 

The regulatory board will grant accreditation to laboratories for undertaking DNA testing, analyzing and various other activities in accordance with the provisions made in the bill.

 

It will have powers to suspend or revoke such accreditation.

 

The regulatory board will assist in the criminal investigation between “various investigation agencies within the country and with any foreign State, international organization or institution.”

 

It will also make recommendations to the central government for the application of privacy protection in relation to the access to, or the use of, DNA samples and their analyses.

 

To check any possibility of the misuse of DNA profiling, the bill prohibits laboratories from undertaking DNA testing, analyzing and other activities without obtaining accreditation from the regulatory board.

 

“DNA technology has the potential of wide application in the justice delivery systems,” the government says in a statement of objects and reasons for the bill.

 

In criminal cases, it helps in the investigation of crimes through biological evidence including semen evidence in rape cases, blood evidence in murder cases, saliva evidence in the identification of the source of anonymous threat letters.

 

“In civil cases, it helps in investigations relating to the identification of victims of disasters like cyclone, air crash, etc,” it also says.

 

A number of crimes are committed by the 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 a DNA databank, the bill states in its aims and objectives.

 

According to provisions in the bill, written consent by individuals will be required to collect DNA samples from them.

 

The consent would not be required from any individual for the offences with the punishment of more than seven years of imprisonment or death. 

 

The bill provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or the order of the court. The DNA profiles of undertrials can also be removed from the data bank on the court’s order. 

 

Profiles in the crime scene and missing persons’ index will be removed on a written request, according to the bill.

 

 

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Bill to provide DNA profiling of criminals in Lok Sabha

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