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Business News/ News / India/  Lok Sabha passes criminal procedure bill: All you need to know about this contentious bill
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Lok Sabha passes criminal procedure bill: All you need to know about this contentious bill

This move comes at a time when the members of Parliament have expressed concern over the broad provisions in the draft legislation that empowers a head constable of a police station or a head warden of a jail to take ‘measurements’ of convicts as well as those in preventive detention

The bill, which seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, was passed by a voice vote after Shah assuaged the concerns raised by the Opposition, which claimed the draft law was ‘draconian’ and could convert India into a 'police state' (PTI)Premium
The bill, which seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, was passed by a voice vote after Shah assuaged the concerns raised by the Opposition, which claimed the draft law was ‘draconian’ and could convert India into a 'police state' (PTI)

The contentious bill providing for legal sanction to police to obtain physical and biological samples of convicts and detainees for investigation in criminal matters was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday, with Home Minister Amit Shah asserting it will act as a defender of human rights of law-abiding citizens, according to news agency PTI report.

Additionally, the Home Minister sought to allay the concerns voiced by MPs about invasion of privacy, insisting all data collected under the proposed law will be protected.

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill

The criminal procedure bill seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 passed by a voice vote after Shah assuaged the concerns raised by the Opposition, which claimed the draft law was "draconian" and could convert India into a "police state."

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. The bill provides for legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such measurements to "make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious".

It seeks to define ''measurements'' to include finger impressions, palm-print and foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, and biological samples and their analysis.

The bill seeks to empower the National Crime Records Bureau of India to collect, store and preserve the record of measurements and for sharing, dissemination, destruction and disposal of records.

The bill also seeks to empower a Magistrate to direct any person to give measurements and empower police or prison officer to take measurements of any person who resists or refuses to give measurements. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni.

In an attempt to protect the human rights of crores of law-abiding citizens and send a strong message in the society by punishing the criminals, the Home Minister said, "Its sole objective was to improve the conviction rate in the country, protect the human rights of crores of law-abiding citizens and send a strong message in the society. It had not been brought for any misuse."

The Home Minister claimed that the Bill has been brought to technologically enhance policing in the country. "We have no intention of misusing the provisions of the Bill. It is meant to keep our police ahead of criminals. Next-generation crimes cannot be tackled with old techniques. We have to try to take the criminal justice system to the next era."

He said that the government is implementing the Bill to meet the "T" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for SMART (Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Techno savvy and Trained) policing in 2014.

"In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forward the concept of SMART policing. Where T meant Technology. We are here to fulfil that promise of T. England, Canada, South Africa, Australia and the USA which are champions of human rights have more stringent laws than this," he said.

Meanwhile, slamming Opposition members who raised the issue of human rights, he said that the leaders should be concerned about the human rights of the law-abiding victims of crime, according to news agency ANI report.

"The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 needs to be looked at from a holistic view. No one is running away from the discussion...but the discussion should be based on logic and facts. The discussion should not be to please the vote bank but to solve the problem," said Shah.

He further said that the Opposition members are concerned about the criminals, but the Modi government is concerned about the law-abiding citizens of the country.

"Those who are talking human rights, it is my request to them that you must think about those who are harassed by criminals. You are concerned about those involved in robbing, and rape. You are only concerned about the criminals; the Modi government is concerned about the people who live on the basis of law," he added.

The Home Minister said that the government believes in the investigation which is done on the basis of data, and information, not on the basis of third-degree torture.

"Those who do the politics of appeasement are raising apprehensions on this bill. Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was a law brought in the interest of the country, which was removed for the politics of appeasement. We do not do vote bank politics, we have come into politics to secure the country and take it to the highest position in the world.

Shah hit out at the Opposition for misuse of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and said that the UAPA is not for any particular caste or religion.

"In 2019, there were more than 51 lakh cases in the country, 1200 cases under UAPA. What do you want to say? The public has taken the responsibility to Narendra Modi of keeping the nation safe. Why not impose UAPA on those working against the country? UAPA is not imposed by looking at anyone's caste or religion, but your advocacy is only for one caste or religion," he said.

Shah said that 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to a lack of evidence. "Due to lack of evidence, 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence, are they human rights or not? A member asked whether there would be no crimes after this. Section 302 has been in place for so long, did the killings stop? So should 302 be removed as well? 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence, are they a human right or not?" said Shah.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 05 Apr 2022, 11:13 AM IST
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