DNA Technology Regulation Bill, 2018:UPSC IAS Exam
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill that allows regulated use of DNA technology to establish the identity of certain defined categories of persons, including offenders, suspects, and undertrials.
DNA-based technology can be used to aid criminal investigations. For example, the identity of a criminal offender may be determined by matching DNA found at the crime scene with the DNA of a suspect. In addition, DNA-based technology helps in identification of victims in the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters such as earthquakes. For example, DNA technology has been used to identify victims of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, and disasters such as the Asian tsunami in 2004.
- The primary intended purpose of DNA technology for establishing the identity of persons in respect of matters listed in a Schedule. These include criminal matters (such as offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860), and civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs.
- Currently, the use of DNA technology for identification of individuals is not regulated. In the past, several expert groups including the Law Commission, have looked at the use and regulation of DNA technology.
- The Bill provides for establishment of national and regional DNA data banks and each data will maintain the indices, including crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index and offenders’ index.
- Written consent by individuals is required to collect DNA samples from them. Consent is not required for offences with punishment of more than seven years of imprisonment or death.
- Bill’s provisions will enable the cross-matching between persons who have been reported missing on the one hand and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country on the other, and also for establishing the identity of victims in mass disasters.