Lok Sabha passes criminal procedure Bill, Amit Shah says it will defend rights of crime victims

There is no intention to misuse the provisions of Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, which is meant to ensure that police and investigators are two steps ahead of criminals, Home Minister Amit Shah told Lok Sabha, which passed the draft legislation on Monday.

Replying to a debate on the Bill, which the Opposition had demanded be sent to the Standing Committee for further scrutiny, Shah said it is about safeguarding “human rights of the victims of crimes, and not just criminals.”

“We have no intention of misusing the provisions of the Bill,” Shah said. “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 criminal justice system to next era.”

Seeking to allay apprehensions voiced by the Opposition about possible misuse of the draft legislation, Shah said rules and procedure of the provisions would be framed later for states. “Best technology will be used for safeguarding the data and there will be training of manpower,” he said.


What the Bill says

The Bill provides for taking measurements of convicts and other persons for identification and investigation in criminal matters, and to preserve records.

Earlier, taking part in the debate on the Bill, Opposition MPs called its provisions “draconian” and demanded that it be referred to a Parliamentary standing committee.

Several Opposition members raised concern over the broad provisions in the Bill that empowers head constable of a police station or head warden of a jail to take “measurements” of convicts and those in preventive detention.

Calling it “draconian and against civil liberties”, Congress’s Manish Tewari said it is against the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution, dealing with human rights and civil liberties. “It is also against the widely accepted dictum that everyone should be treated innocent unless proven guilty. The provisions of the Bill are very wide and ambiguous, and can be misused by the state and the police,” he said.

The Bill will pave the way for India to become a surveillance state, Tewari said.

Responding to a concern raised by Congress, Shah said there is no intention to do brain-mapping narco analysis through the provisions of the Bill that talks of collecting biometric data of criminals.

Dayanadhi Maran of DMK accused the government of trying to establish a surveillance state. He said, “It is open-ended and infringes on the privacy of individuals.”

TMC’s Mahua Moitra said the Bill seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, but the proposed law has fewer safeguards than the law enacted by the British.

Referring to concerns of the Opposition, Shah said such provisions exist in countries such as the UK, South Africa and others, where the rate of prosecution of criminals was much higher than in India. “Don’t be scared of database…the whole world is using database,” he said.

The database has been in use for two-and-a-half years to solve crimes, including automobile thefts, he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button