Criminal Procedure Identification Act

Criminal Procedure Identification Act

News: The Central Government is set to roll out DNA and Face-matching systems in 1,300 police stations across the country in accordance with Criminal Procedure Identification Act, which was passed by the Parliament in April 2022.

Key provisions:
• The Act does not explicitly mention collection of DNA or Face-matching data. It provides legal sanction to the police to collect physical and biological samples of convicts as well as those accused of crimes.
• Any person convicted, arrested or detained under any preventive detention law will be required to provide measurements to a police officer or a prison official.
• It aims to ensure the unique identification of those involved with crime and to help investigating agencies solve cases.
• The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been tasked with rolling out the Act and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are to be followed by police officials while procuring the data.
• Under National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS), workstations and scanners have been put up at around 1300 police stations across the country.

About NAFIS:
• It's a database that matches fingerprints and palm prints to help with criminal investigations. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) manages NAFIS at the Central Fingerprint Bureau in New Delhi.
• NAFIS was established in 1986, and an upgraded system started in April 2001. NAFIS assigns a unique 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) to each person arrested for a crime. This unique ID is used for the person's lifetime, and different crimes registered under different FIRs are linked to the same NFN.
• NAFIS helps with Automating fingerprint matching, Assisting with criminal investigations and Finding information about crimes and criminals

Significance:
• The Act will open up the inclusion of modern techniques to capture and record appropriate body measurements. The existing law allowed taking only fingerprint and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicted persons.
• It will help the investigating agencies to gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.
• It will make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious and will also help in increasing theconviction rate.

Advantages of DNA and Face matching system:
• It will boost law enforcement efficiency by quickening criminal investigations, reducing crime, and maintaining order.
• It will ease daily tasks, employ Big Data for crime trends, provide real-time access via smartphone apps, and enhance public-police interaction, offering digital services like online grievance submissions for citizens’ convenience (e.g., Punjab Police’s SAANJH)

Challenges:
• Data security gaps may lead to misuse.
• Uneven tech access due to rural-urban disparities; Insufficient police reform integration;
• Budget limitations hinder new tech adoption; and Limited tools for interagency collaboration. 

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