• India
  • Aug 06

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act comes into force

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 has come into force.

The Bill was passed in April this year and empowers police to obtain physical and biological samples of convicts and those accused of crimes.

It replaced the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. 

Several opposition parties had slammed the Bill as “unconstitutional” and “draconian” and claimed it could be misused.

Why did the govt introduce a new Bill?

• The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 was enacted to authorise the taking of measurements and photographs of convicts and other persons. The term “measurements” used in the said Act is limited to allow for taking of finger impressions and foot-print impressions of a limited category of convicted and non-convicted persons and photographs on the order of a Magistrate.

• New measurement techniques being used in advanced countries are giving credible and reliable results and are recognised world over. The Act does not provide for taking these body measurements as many of the techniques and technologies had not been developed at that point of time. 

• It is considered necessary to expand the “ambit of persons” whose measurements can be taken as this will help the investigating agencies to gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.

• Therefore, there is a need for expanding the scope and ambit of the measurements which can be taken under the provisions of law as it will help in unique identification of a person involved in any crime and will assist the investigating agencies in solving the criminal case.

• In 1980, the Law Commission report had recommended certain changes to the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.

• In the new Act, “measurements” includes finger-impressions, palm-print impressions, foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, biological samples and their analysis, behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting or any other examination referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

• The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act provides for legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such measurements and will make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious and will also help in increasing the conviction rate.

• It empowers the National Crime Records Bureau of India (NCRB) to collect, store and preserve the record of measurements.

• The record of measurements shall be retained in digital or electronic form for a period of 75 years from the date of collection of such measurement.

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