Minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni. (Twitter)
New Delhi: The Centre on Monday brought the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill in the Lok Sabha amid strong protests by the Opposition parties. The Congress termed this bill as "draconian and illegal", as minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni said the proposed law will not only help the investigation agencies but also increase prosecutions.
Raising objections, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary said the law would be "draconian" and infringes upon the right to privacy. Another Congress MP, Manish Tewari, termed the proposed bill as "illegal" and said it violated Article 20(3) of the Constitution, which says: "No person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself".
Defending the bill, the government said it would enable the law agencies and prison officers to collect, store and analyse physical and biological samples, iris and retina scans and the signatures and handwriting of all arrested or convicted prisoners. The bill also seeks to be made applicable to persons detained under any preventive detention law. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the repository of all physical and biological samples and the data can be preserved for at least 75 years.
This Bill will repeal the Identification of Prisoners Act 1920, whose scope was limited to allowing taking of fingerprints and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicted and non-convicted persons and photos, and only on the orders of a magistrate.
The Lok Sabha on Monday also passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2022.
The Opposition, meanwhile, demanded the rollback of fuel and cooking gas price hikes and sought a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha on the issue. The Opposition MPs also dismissed the government’s contention that the rise in prices was due to the Russia-Ukraine war. The discussion on rising fuel prices and the Russia-Ukraine war is expected to be held next week after the Centre agrees to the same, several MPs said on Monday.
The discussion on both topics will be held under the Lok Sabha’s Rule 193, which does not entail voting, the MPs present at the meeting said. While the Ukraine crisis may be discussed later this week, the question of rising prices will come up next week, an MP said, adding that the exact date and timings had not yet been decided.
Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he proposed to discuss the twin matters at the business advisory committee meeting, and the government agreed to this. The Opposition parties in the Lower House have been protesting against the rising prices of essential goods, especially fuel prices, and urging the Centre to discuss the issues.