New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said that the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill has been brought with the sole objective to improve the conviction rate in the country, protect the human rights of crores of law-abiding citizens and send a strong message in the society by punishing the criminals.
Responding to the debate on the proposed Bill in the Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said, “Its sole objective was to improve the conviction rate in the country, protect the human rights of crores of law-abiding citizens and send a strong message in the society. It had not been brought for any misuse.”
Posing a question to the Opposition, Shah asked, “Both crime and criminal have become modern and we should not equip the police with modern technology?”
The Home Minister claimed that the Bill has been brought to technologically enhance policing in the country.
“We have no intention of misusing the provisions of the Bill. It is meant to keep our police ahead of criminals. Next-generation crimes cannot be tackled with old techniques. We have to try to take the criminal justice system to the next era.”
He said that the government is implementing the Bill to meet the “T” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for SMART (Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Techno savvy and Trained) policing in 2014.
“In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forward the concept of SMART policing. Where T meant Technology. We are here to fulfil that promise of T. England, Canada, South Africa, Australia and the USA which are champions of human rights have more stringent laws than this,” he said.
Further, slamming Opposition members who raised the issue of human rights, he said that the leaders should be concerned about the human rights of the law-abiding victims of crime.
“The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 needs to be looked at from a holistic view. No one is running away from the discussion…but the discussion should be based on logic and facts. The discussion should not be to please the vote bank but to solve the problem,” said Shah.
He further said that the Opposition members are concerned about the criminals, but the Modi government is concerned about the law-abiding citizens of the country.
“Those who are talking human rights, it is my request to them that you must think about those who are harassed by criminals. You are concerned about those involved in robbing, and rape. You are only concerned about the criminals; the Modi government is concerned about the people who live on the basis of law,” he added.
The Home Minister said that the government believes in the investigation which is done on the basis of data, and information, not on the basis of third-degree torture.
“I agree that delayed justice is of no use. The guilty should be punished on time and justice is done only then the rule of law will be established. The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in the investigation which is done on the basis of data, information, forensic science and technology, not on the basis of third-degree torture,” said the Home Minister.
He further slammed the Opposition members for doing politics of appeasement over the bill.
“Those who do the politics of appeasement are raising apprehensions on this bill. Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was a law brought in the interest of the country, which was removed for the politics of appeasement. We do not do vote bank politics, we have come into politics to secure the country and take it to the highest position in the world.
Shah hit out at the Opposition for misuse of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and said that the UAPA is not for any particular caste or religion.
“In 2019, there were more than 51 lakh cases in the country, 1200 cases under UAPA. What do you want to say? The public has taken the responsibility to Narendra Modi of keeping the nation safe. Why not impose UAPA on those working against the country? UAPA is not imposed by looking at anyone’s caste or religion, but your advocacy is only for one caste or religion,” he said.
Shah said that 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to a lack of evidence.
“Due to lack of evidence, 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence, are they human rights or not? A member asked whether there would be no crimes after this. Section 302 has been in place for so long, did the killings stop? So should 302 be removed as well? 7.5 lakh cases are closed every year due to lack of evidence, are they a human right or not?” said Shah.
Replying on the concern over the issue of data protection, possible misuse of the proposed law, violation of the citizen’s right to privacy and other fundamental rights, the Home Minister said, “No need to be fear of databases. The whole world is using databases and we should use it too. For how long will we continue on the same old path? We also have to move forward with the times.”
The Home Minister said that the government is also going to bring a model act for jails.
“The Modi government is also going to bring a model act for jails, the main provisions of which are:- To focus on after care services for the rehabilitation of prisoners, multiple remedial programs with psychology assessments and separate women’s prison and separate arrangements for women prisoners and transgenders with children,” he added.
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.
The bill provides for legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such measurements to “make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious”.
It seeks to define ”measurements” to include finger impressions, palm-print and foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, and biological samples and their analysis.
The bill seeks to empower the National Crime Records Bureau of India to collect, store and preserve the record of measurements and for sharing, dissemination, destruction and disposal of records.
The bill also seeks to empower a Magistrate to direct any person to give measurements and empower police or prison officer to take measurements of any person who resists or refuses to give measurements.
The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni.