08 January 2019
New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed "The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 with voice vote after a brief discussion.
The bill seeks to provide the regulation for use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology for the purpose of establishing the identity of certain categories of persons including victims, offenders, suspects, undertrials, missing persons and unknown deceased persons.
Introducing the bill, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said the issues of privacy, confidentiality and data protection have been minutely addressed in this legislation.
"This is a long-awaited bill. A discussion between some prominent judges and lawyers was held in 2003 to introduce DNA technology in criminal justice delivery system. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had then set up a DNA profiling advisory committee."
He said the government changed in 2004 but some work was done by next governments on it. "Finally in August 2018, we introduced this Bill and it has come up for discussion in the House in 2019."
Explaining about the Bill, the Minister said there are only 30-40 DNA profiling experts in the country and 15-18 labsm, but no DNA data bank is available in the country so far.
"Over 40,000 unidentified bodies were recovered and around 1 lakh children were found missing previous year, as per a government data. So there is a need for a bill to identify them. Despite that, there is need to apprehend repeated offenders through DNA profiling."
Harsh Vardhan said once the bill becomes a law, it will help in the criminal justice delivery system, finding the families of missing children and other purposes.
He said the Bill has gone through scrutiny of several experts in the last 15 years.
Earlier, Shashi Tharoor of Congress and N.K. Premchandran of RSP opposed the bill and demanded to send it to the standing committee.
Tharoor said: "DNA profiling can be misused. This will create power imbalance between government and the people. This is a very serious threat the government is imposing on our people."
Opposing the bill, Premchandran said: "Definitely it will help in criminal cases as it is a modern technology but I have concerns about right to privacy."