K’taka assembly passes bill related to identification of prisoners

Bengaluru, Sep 17 (PTI):
The Karnataka assembly on Friday passed the ‘Identification of Prisoners (Karnataka Amendment) Bill,’ which seeks to include collection of blood, DNA, voice and iris scan samples as “measurements” of offenders for effective surveillance and prevention of breach of peace and crime.
The bill, which amends the Central act of Identification of Prisoners with respect to its application to Karnataka, also empowers Superintendent of Police or Deputy Commissioners of Police, in addition to the judicial magistrate first class, to order for collection of measurement to avoid delay and workload.
Piloting the bill for the consideration of the House, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said “till now foo-print impressions were collected. Now we have added blood, DNA, voice, and iris scan samples to it. Earlier the measurements were collected for those with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year, now it has been changed to a term of one month.”
He said the bill empowers SPs and DCPs to order destruction of measurement after a period of 10 years, unless otherwise directed by the court or any other competent authority.
Participating during the discussion on the Bill, Congress MLA Tanveer Sait sought to know whether collecting measurement was necessary when such details are available in an individual’s Aadhar data.
Another Congress MLA Priyank Kharge said the government intends to create a database of biometrics and forensic tools needed for investigation and also sought to know whether the necessary infrastructure was in place. “Also, has the government thought about the right to privacy?”
Responding to the queries, the Minister said, measurements were collected for those with Rigorous Imprisonment for a term of one month and above and it will be stored in the criminal tracking system in Bengaluru, so there will be concerns of any breach.
He said it would also be helpful in identifying habitual offenders.
Also passed was a bill providing for the constitution of the Karnataka Prison Development Board for strengthening prisons and initiating correctional administrative measures.
Titled ‘Karnataka Prison Development Board Bill’, it also provides for initiating measures for skill improvement, welfare of prisoners and prisons’ staff and expanding prison industries.

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