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Lok Sabha passes DNA (Use and Application) Technology Regulation Bill

The Lok Sabha has passed the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 by voice vote after a brief discussion. The bill seeks to provide regulation for the use and application of DNA technology for establishing the identity of people including the victims, offenders and suspects.

Jan 8, 2019 16:22 IST
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The Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019 passed the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 by voice vote after a brief discussion.

The bill seeks to provide regulation for the use and application of DNA technology for the purpose of establishing the identity of certain category of persons including the victims, offenders, suspects, under trials, missing persons and others.

Objective

The main objective behind the enactment of the bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.

The use of DNA based technologies for solving crimes and to identify missing persons is well recognised across the world.

Key Features

The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill provides for mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories.

Through this, it seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in the country, there is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable and the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of the country’s citizens.

The bill also seeks to ensure speedier justice delivery and increased conviction rate.

It also seeks to establish a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks.

The bill’s provisions will enable cross-matching between persons who have been reported missing on one hand and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country on the other.

It will help in establishing the identity of victims in mass disasters.

Significance

Once the bill becomes a law, it will help in the criminal justice system, finding the families of missing children and other purposes. The bill has gone through scrutiny of several experts in the last 15 years. 

Background

Forensic DNA profiling is of proven value in solving cases involving offences that are categorised as affecting the human body such as murder, rape, human trafficking, or grievous hurt and those against property including theft, burglary and dacoity.

The aggregate incidence of such crimes in the country, as per the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2016, is over 3 lakh per year.

Among these, only a very small proportion is being subjected to DNA testing at present.

It is expected that the expanded use of the technology in these categories of cases would not only result in speedier justice delivery but also in increased conviction rates, which at present is only around 30 per cent, as per NCRB Statistics for 2016.

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