Team SoOLEGAL 21 Sep 2022 3:29pm


New Delhi: The Centre formulated the rules for the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022, controversial legislation that empowers law enforcement agencies to collect biological samples, retina scans, biometrics, and behavioral characteristics of individuals who have been convicted, arrested, or detained.

According to the rules, data on people arrested for offenses related to elections (Chapter IXA of the Indian Penal Code) and contempt or disobedience of public servants' authority (Chapter X of the IPC) can only be taken with the "prior written approval" of a police officer not lower than the rank of superintendent of police.

According to the rules, people charged for violating prohibitory orders or detained for disturbing the peace under sections 144 or 145 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) will not be required to give their measurements unless they are charged or arrested in connection with any other offense punishable under any other legislation during that period, as assured by home minister Amit Shah during a debate in Parliament in April. After lawmakers expressed concerns about the government using the legislation to target political opponents, he provided assurance.

The rules, which were issued by the home ministry through a gazette notification on Monday, also state that measurements of people against whom preventive action has been started under sections 107, 108, 109, or 110 of the CrPC (referring to various offenses related to public peace) "shall not be taken" unless the individual is "ordered to give security for his good behavior or maintaining peace under section 117 of the CrPC." A magistrate has the authority under Section 117 to order an individual to provide security for good behavior.

According to the rules, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will issue standard operating procedures for the measurement process. Such procedures will cover the specifications of the measuring equipment or devices to be used; the format, such as digital or physical; as well as the method of handling and storing measurements in the database at the level of state government or union territory administration in a format compatible with the NCRB's database.

The measurements "shall be stored and preserved in a secure and encrypted format as specified in the SOPs," according to the rules. The SOPs would also define the data destruction process.

Opposition parties have labeled the new legislation "draconian," raising concerns about data breaches and privacy violations. Even so, Mr. Shah stated in April that biometric data on political detainees will not be gathered and that the law in question will not include brain mapping or polygraph testing.

The new legislation replaces an older one that allows police to collect samples of a person's biometric details, like fingerprints and iris scans, if they have been arrested, detained, or placed under preventive detention on charges carrying a seven-year or more.

It requires people to allow the collection of finger impressions, palm print impressions, footprint impressions, photographs, iris and retina scans, physical and biological samples and their analysis, behavioral attributes such as signatures and handwriting, and so on. The law also allows the NCRB to collect, store, as well as retain such records for 75 years and share them with other agencies.

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