The Indian Lok Sabha this week passed a contentious bill providing for legal sanction to police to obtain physical and biological samples of convicts and detainees for investigation in criminal matters.
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill seeks to repeal The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, and allow the collection, storage and analysis of physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scan of the convicted, arrested and detained persons, according to media reports.
Responding to the debate on the proposed law, Union Home Minister Amit Shah 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, he said. Most of the Opposition members urged the government to send the Bill to the parliamentary standing or select committee for detailed discussion and improvement.
The Home Minister said that according to the 2020 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the overall conviction rate in murder cases was just 44%; 39% in rape cases; 24% in cases of attempted murder; 38% in robbery; and 29% in dacoity cases. Whereas in the United Kingdom the average conviction rate was 83.6%, it was 68% in Canada, 82% in South Africa, 97% in Australia (2020-21) and about 93% in the United States. All these countries were champions of human rights and had more stringent laws in place, he said.