DNA Technology Regulation Bill Approved By Union Cabinet
The Union Cabinet on Monday accepted the DNA Technology (Application and Use), Legislation Bill, 2019, that will allow the government to create a DNA data bank for solving crimes, tracing missing persons, and in identifying dead bodies.
Union Minister of Health & Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the bill will like a helping hand for the criminal justice delivery system. It will empower the body by enabling the application of DNA evidence – which is the prime key to crime investigations and will also help maintain a uniform practice in all labs where DNA testing in India.
The DNA Technology Regulation Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha earlier this year in January but lapsed because of lack of support in the Rajya Sabha from the opposition.
Now, following the Cabinet’s nod, a fresh bill is going to be framed & presented in the upcoming few days in Parliament, sources said. The legislation attempts to launch Regional DNA Data Banks and a National DNA Data Bank.
The bill envisages that each DNA data bank will maintain indices like the crime scene index, suspects or undertrials’ indicator, offenders’ index, missing persons’ indicator, and the deceased persons’ index.
A DNA regulatory board is proposed to be established. Every laboratory that analyses DNA samples to establish an individual’s identity, has to be licensed by the board.
If approved, the DNA Technology Regulation Bill is likely to create provisions for the authorities to set up regional and national DNA data banks that will keep samples under categories like a missing person, suspect or under-trial, offenders, crime scene, and also the person.
The “DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019” will aid in scientific upgradation and streamlining of the #DNA testing activities in the country. @DBTIndia pic.twitter.com/9etEa1Qxz9
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) June 24, 2019
Bodily samples for DNA analysis could be gathered only from the individuals on consent. For people that have received a sentence of over seven years, the samples could be collected without permission.
Any misuse or leaking of DNA information will be punishable offense – with up to a year of imprisonment along with a fine of ~1 lakh, according to the bill. And, altering or destroying samples is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment plus a fine of Rs two lakhs.
The bill also prohibits all labs from conducting analysis or any DNA tests without accreditation with the DNA regulatory board, ensuring reliability and the quality of tests.
The bill was originally proposed in 2007 along with the drafting started in 2012. A petition filed saying that India does not have a DNA database to identify nearly 40,000 unclaimed bodies.
The above news has been redrafted as per original post at Hindustan Times