The Union Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has recently approved the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 on 4th July, 2018. The Department of Biotechnology had drafted the Bill with a view to develop the forensic technologies pertaining to DNA for establishing a stronger justice delivery system in the country. The use of DNA technology in criminal investigation may be for various purposes such as for finding missing persons, victims of mass disasters, offenders, suspects, under trials, unknown deceased and for solving cases where offences are categorized as affecting the human body such as murder, rape, grievous hurt, etc, and those against property such as theft, dacoity, etc. This may help in providing speedy justice and increasing the conviction rate for heinous crimes.
As per the Press Information Bureau, India, the Bill provides for mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories in India so that the DNA test results derived from the use of the DNA technology is reliable. It also ensures that there is no misuse of data of citizens and thereby no abuse of privacy in the hands of third parties.
Reportedly, the Bill further provides for an enforcement agency, the DNA Profiling Board, for authorizing the creation of state level DNA databanks, approving the methods of collection and analysis of DNA technologies. These databanks so established can be used only for the purpose of storing and recording information related to and used in forensic criminal investigation.
The Bill aims to set up an institutional mechanism to collect and utilize DNA technologies to collect samples from the crime scenes and identify people by using it.
The Bill may seem to be a move to reform the justice system in India. But it would have to ensure protection from misuse and abuse of the sensitive data so collected which relates to the privacy of the citizens of the country.
Senior Legal Associate
School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies
The Indian Lawyer