DNA Tech bill introduced in LS to crack criminal cases

DNA Tech bill introduced in LS to crack criminal cases

It will only be used for identification of the person and not for any other purpose, the Bill says

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan. DH file photo

The NDA government on Thursday introduced the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation bill 2018 in the Lok Sabha seeking to create a DNA data bank for hardcore criminals and help the administration identify missing persons and disaster victims faster with the help of DNA fingerprinting technology.

After introducing the bill, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said the legislation was initiated by the first NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and since then it underwent scrutiny at all level.

The original bill was modified following a review by the Law Commission. It's original title – Human DNA Profiling: A draft bill for the Use and Regulation of DNA-Based Technology – was changed on the basis of the Law Commission report. 

The commission also assured issue pertaining to privacy concerns will be taken care of.

When the bill was introduced Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury objected to proposed law apprehending its misuse by the law-enforcing and investigating agencies. He said the bill provides for the collection of DNA samples, willing or unwillingly, which is a “gross violation” of the principles laid down in the Constitution.

Vardhan countered by pointing out that the government took care to ensure that the privacy issues remained paramount. After Law Commission, a second round of checking of the law was done by a committee comprising Home, Law and Science ministers before the bill was placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval.

The most important application of the legislation would be in the criminal justice system as it would allow the government to maintain a DNA database for the criminals convicted of heinous crimes. Over a period of time, the database is expected to lead to better justice delivery and improve conviction rate that currently stands at 30%.

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