Lok Sabha Passes The DNA Technology Regulation Bill

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Lok Sabha Passes The DNA Technology Regulation Bill

The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill has been given a green signal by Lok Sabha this Tuesday. Under theDNA Technology Regulation Bill, regulated use of DNA technology is allowed for the identification of people in criminal matters, in case of parentage dispute, human organ transplantation & even emigration or immigration issues. The bills also state the formation of National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks. Each Data bank Every databank will have to maintain DNA data as per the following categories: the crime scene index, the suspects’ or undertrials’ index, the offenders’ index, the missing persons’ index, and an ‘unknown’ deceased persons’ index.

A brief debate focused on the potential misuse of the bill went on in Lok Sabha this Tuesday. Union science and technology minister, Harsh Vardhan said that the assembly discussed the issues of issues of privacy, confidentiality, and data protection. He further added that once the bill becomes a law, it will aid the justice system in the identification of correct criminals and in locating families of missing children and various other cases.

The bill went through several stages of scrutiny in the last 15 years and is finally brought from the drafting board to

Parliament. Earlier the bill was vehemently opposed by Shashi Tharoor of Congress and N K Premchandran of RSP with demands to send it to the Standing Committee of the House.

As per previous reports from The Wire, DBT back in the year 2003 was the first to propose the bill in the prime ministry of Late. Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee. A DNA Profiling Advisory Committee was put together by DBT four years later wherein the Human DNA Profiling Bill was drafted. Until 2012 the bill underwent a series of modifications. In 2013 a committee was pulled together to examine the final draft which was approved by late 2014. In 2015 the revised draft was passed ahead from Ministry of Science & Technology to the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law & Justice.

As per the bill terms, the prime role of the Regulatory Committee will be to accredit DNA-testing labs from which data can be collected and ensure the maintenance of high-quality standards. But as per recent privacy and surveillance issues faced, the committee itself will be under close watch to ensure there is no breach of DNA data security.

The approved bill has however left behind a lot of concerns lurking like missing for the collection of DNA samples for civil matters – it fails to state if the consent has to be voluntary. Also if the DNA labs are authorized to store a copy the DNA sample they analyze – what if it is misused? These issues are just to name a few.

During the debate N.K. Premachandran, MP from Kollam demanded the Bill be sent to a Parliamentary Standing Committee. Will be bill become a law? Time will tell.

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