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Criminal Attack on Privacy


The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill 2022 has raised doubts about the privacy of convicted criminals and ordinary citizens.


GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Dimensions of the Article

  • Aim of the Bill
  • Features of the Bill
  • Issues with the Bill
  • Government’s Responsibilities
  • Way Forward

Aim of the Bill

  • Replace the Identification of Prisoners’ Act 1920 which has been recommended by the reports of the Law Commission and also iterated in the State of U.P vs. Ram Babu Mishra Case.
  • Aims to resolve the issues of vague definitions of various terms associated with the act.
  • A century old act has become obsolete today which needs to be as per the demands of the contemporary issues.

Features of the Bill

  • Definition of ‘Measurements’ have been enhanced to include ‘analysis’.
  • Definition now states “iris and retina scan, physical, biological samples and their analysis, behavioural attributes including signatures”.
  • ‘Measurements’ can be now gathered from ‘all’ persons that may have been arrested.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau will store the intofrmation for 75 years from the date of collection of digital record “in interest of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of any offense”

Issues with the Bill

  • ‘Analysis’ of the collected data nd what includes analysis is not very clear.
  • Bill wasn’t put up for pre-legislative consultation and it wasn’t also indicated in the agenda of the house before being tabled.
  • The choice to not provide data may no longer lie with the person whose data is to be collected but with the police.
  • NCRB already operates CCTNS and multiple states also keep the databases which will create parallel databases of citizens.
  • Innocent citizens may be treated with suspicion especially the marginalized may be exploited.
  • Privacy risks.

Government’s Responsibilities

  • Since privacy risks are huge government must consider a law more aptly.
  • Individual autonomy and freedom needs to be protected by the state which was also mandated by the Puttaswamy Judgment.
  • Criminal Database must be widely used and hence police has to be sensitized about its usage.

Way Forward

Prevention and Investigation of crime is of utmost important to create a welfare state. This requires a criminal database but it must be understood that privacy risks and undermining citizens does not bode well. Proper consultations must be done before implementing any law in this regard. Government must build trust among its citizens to make sure they balance their privacy with surveillance.

Source -The Hindu

December 2023