DNA Regulation Bill Will Violate Right to Privacy: Congress

DNA Regulation Bill
DNA Regulation Bill

According to a statement issued by the Government of India, the Lok Sabha today passed “The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019”.

The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, undertrials, and unknown deceased persons.

However, the opposition party Congress has condemned the Bill saying that it will violate the citizens’ right to privacy. “The DNA Regulation Bill passed by the BJP government violates our Fundamental Right to Privacy by failing to provide safeguards for the protection of citizens’ data,” Congress said.

According to the government, the purpose of this Bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.

The utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world.

By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in the country, there is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable, and furthermore that the data remains protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.

The key components of this Bill include: establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board; accreditation of DNA laboratories undertaking DNA testing, analysing, etc.; the establishment of the National and Regional DNA Data Banks, as envisaged in the Bill, will assist in forensic investigations.

This will aid in scientific up-gradation and streamlining of the DNA testing activities in the country with appropriate inputs from the DNA Regulatory Board which would be set up for the purpose.

The government statement adds that the Bill will add value in empowering the criminal justice delivery system by enabling the application of DNA evidence, which is considered the gold standard in crime investigations.

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Rakesh Raman