What is the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022? Know Key Changes and Provisions Here

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 - Explained: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 came into effect on 4th August 2022. Know what are the key changes and provisions introduced in the new law and how will change the way criminal investigations are done.

What is the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022?
What is the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022?

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 - Explained: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 came into effect on 4th August 2022. The newly enacted law will replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 and empowers police and other law enforcement agencies to collect certain identifiable information (fingerprints and footprints) of persons including convicts and arrested persons. Since its enactment, the law has been in news for severe criticism and opposition parties who have termed it draconian. In response to this Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the law is an enabling tool that will provide police and other investigating agencies with the technological tools to stay ahead of criminals.

As the debate around the legal viability of the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 continues, Let’s try and decode the key changes and provisions introduced in the new law and how will change the way criminal investigations are done.

Click Here to Download the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 Gazette Document

How will Investigating Agencies collect Data?

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 has provisions that allow for the collection of data from convicts. Section 53 or section 53A of CrPC deals with the procedural aspects of criminal law and allows investigating agencies the power to collect, store and analyse data for criminal investigations. The data collected will be stored and preserved by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and will be shared with any relevant law enforcement agency, as required. The law provisions storage of data for 75 years after which it will be destroyed. 

Identification of Prisoners Act vs Criminal Procedure Identification Act: Comparison

The Criminal Procedure Identification Act 2022 replaces the colonial era law Identification of Prisoners Act 1920. To help you understand the key changes that have been made to the way data can be captured, stored and used by law enforcement are listed below in a comparative manner:

Provision

Identification of Prisoners Act 1920

Criminal Procedure Identification Act 2022

Persons whose Data can be Collected

Person whose data is to be collected should be a convicted criminal with imprisonment of one year or above

Any person who is convicted of a punishable offence under any law can have their data collected by investigating agencies

Concerned person should be arrested for an offence punishable with imprisonment of one year or above

Any person arrested for a punishable offence or detained under preventive detention laws

Data can also be connected if directed by Magistrate for purposes of investigation under CrPC; provided the person has also been arrested earlier as well for similar investigation

Data can also be connected if directed by Magistrate for purposes of investigation under CrPC; no prior conviction in similar investigation is required

Ordered to give security for his good behaviour under CrPC

Ordered to give security for his good behaviour under CrPC

Measures / Data which can be collected

Finger Impressions, Foot Impressions, Measurement and Photographs

Finger Impressions, palm-print impressions, foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scans, physical, biological sample and their analysis, behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting or any other examination referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the CRPC 1973

Destruction of Data / Measurements

Data collected by investigative agencies has to be destroyed in case the person under investigation is acquitted, discharged or released. This will be applicable only if the accused is previously not convicted of any punishable offence with rigorous imprisonment of one year or upwards.

For convicts, data collected has to be destroyed only after 75 years after collection. In case of acquittal, discharge or release, only if the accused is previously not convicted of any punishable offence with rigorous imprisonment of one year or upwards

Challenges, Issues Highlighted by Critics and Opposition

Since its introduction in Parliament in April 2022, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 has come under severe criticism from opposition leaders as well as several legal experts. The point of contention as far as the new law is concerned is centred around the “biological samples and their analysis”. As the term ‘biological samples’ has not been clearly defined in the law, it keeps the door open for law enforcement agencies to collect bodily invasions such as the drawing of blood and hair, the collection of DNA samples. Under the current law, the collection of such samples or data requires a

Several opposition leaders have termed the law to be draconian as it will allow law enforcement agencies to perform narco analysis and brain mapping, without the consent of prisoners and detainees. 

Furthermore, legal experts have also said that the law will violate the right to privacy of not only people accused of a crime but also of ordinary citizens. The provision included in the law which states “Any person arrested for a punishable offence or detained under preventive detention laws” has come under severe criticism as it paves the way for the collection of data and biological samples from protestors and political opposition by the government of the day.

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