President gives assent to bill allowing bio samples for identification of criminals

New Delhi, April 19 : President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to a new law which empowers police to record and store physical and biological samples of a person for identification and investigation in criminal matters and to preserve such records. The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act was notified by the government of India through a gazette notification, which said it was signed by the President on April 18. The Bill, which was opposed by several Opposition parties on account of being unconstitutional, empowers police to record and store ‘measurements’ of a person for identification and investigation in criminal matters. The ‘measurements’ defined in the Bill includes finger print, palm print, foot impression, photograph, iris or retina scan and physical and biological samples. The Bill empowers National Crime Records Bureau of India to collect, store and preserve the record of measurements, and for sharing, dissemination, destruction and disposal of records. The Bill empowers a Magistrate to direct any person to give measurements, and it also empowers police or prison officer to take measurement of any person who resists of refuses to give measurement, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Statement and Purpose of the Bill. The data collected under the Bill can be stored in digital format for 75 years. So far, under the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, the term ‘measurement’ was limited to finger impression, footprint of a limited category of convicted and unconvicted persons, and photographs on order of magistrate. AO SHK1809

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