DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill,2018
Author: Ms. Vaishali Malhotra, Kurukshetra University
On 4th January 8, 2019 landmark decision was taken by Lok Sabha by passing “DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019” (here after referred as “Bill”). In August, 2018 DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019 has been introduced in Lok Sabha by Harshvardhan (the Minister of Science and Technology). This bill was introduced to govern the usage and the application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology for the purpose of identification of certain persons including missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons.DNA technology also includes civil matters such as disputes in parentage,pedigree disputes, immigration or emigration disputes, assisted reproductive technologies, transplantation of human organs, and for the establishment of individual identity. At that time, Harshvardhan called DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019 as “comprehensive” . Furthermore, he added that Government of India took about 14 to 15 years to bring this bill in front of the drafting board to the parliament. This bill is formulated to assist in investigations related to forensic matters . Along with this, this bill will helps in the scientific upgradation of the DNA testing activities prevailing in the country. For that purpose, the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019 seeks:
- Establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board;
- Accreditation of DNA laboratories which will undertakes DNA testing activities
- Establishment of the National and Regional DNA Data Banks
II.Background of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018
In the year 2003, basic idea for DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019 was brought up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) during the time of Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he was a Prime Minister of India. Afterwards, in the year 2012 the DNA Profiling Advisory Committee drafted the Human DNA profiling Bill. Then in the year 2013, the Government of India established a committee examination of 2012 draft . Then ,in the year 2014 the examination is done and that draft is submitted to Ministry of Science and Technology. Furtherly, in the year 2015 it was sent to the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law and Justice.
III.What is DNA ?
Basically, DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is the hereditary material that is found in humans and almost all other organisms present in this world. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus and there it is called nuclear DNA. In mitochondria, a small amount of DNA can also be found and there it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA. Every cell of the human body contains the same DNA. The DNA of a human being is unique in nature as every human being has a different sequence of variation in the DNA. That variation in the sequence of DNA can be used to identify persons and matching the individuals with their DNA.
IV.Need for DNA in human bodies
Vital for living beings:
- DNA is a vital component of a human being’s body as well as DNA is found in plants as well.
- DNA is very significant in nature as it is important for the inheritance, proteins coding as well as the transfer of genetic instructions for life and its processes.
- DNA is vital for all living beings including plants.
V.Need for the legislation and its significance:
The scope of utility of DNA based technologies is widening after the passing of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018. This legislation plays a very important role in the following matters:
- DNA based technology is very useful in solving crimes and further investigations.
- This technology is also useful to identify missing persons along with unclaimed bodies.
- DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 aims to expands the application of DNA based forensic Technologies to expand and ensure justice delivery from the law system of our country.
- This technology is very useful in determining parentage.
- DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 provides relevant information about the relevant facts and evidence about the identification of a particular individual.
- It helps in finding out the real culprit.
- DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 directly or indirectly strengthening the judicial system of our country
- DNA based technology is very helpful in determining the biological relationships.
- This technology is very helpful in ascertaining the physical attributes of an individual only through DNA samples.
VI.Key highlights of this Bill
- DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 the usage of DNA technology for ascertaining the identity of certain persons which is listed under Schedule which includes victims, offenders, and persons, etc.
- The Bill direct for the establishment of National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks.
- Every Data Bank is obliged to maintain the indices as per the provisions of this bill. These indices are as follows:
- crime scene index,
- suspects’ or undertrials’ index,
- offenders’ index,
- missing persons’ index,
- unknown deceased persons’ index.
- According to the provisions of the Bill, there must be an establishment of DNA Regulatory Board to keep the eye on DNA laboratories that test DNA samples to ascertain the real identity of an individual.
- As per the provisions of this bill, it is compulsory to get the written consent by the individuals for collecting DNA samples from them. And for the offenses with the punishment of more than 7 years of imprisonment or death this consent it is not mandatory.
- DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 provides the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or court order.
VII. Offences and Punishment:
As per the provisions of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 is a person who is not entitled you have a DNA profile information lyrics the DNA profile information then he would be punished as per the provisions of this bill. That person will be punished with the jail of a term up to 3 years and the fine of up Rs. 1 lakh.
VIII.Benefits of the Bill:
There and number of benefits which are associated with the bill which are discussed as follows:
- The provision of mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA Laboratories is a prominent feature of this bill.
- By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laborato
- This bill ensures the strengthening of the judicial system of our country.
- Surety of Reliability of the DNA test results
- The DNA test results remain protected from misuse in terms of privacy rights of an individual.
- Expansion in the usage of DNA based Technology will result in the speedier justice delivery but also helps in ascertaining the real culprits who have wrong done in the cases.
IX. Limitations of Bill
Along with the benefits, this bill is also associated with some of the limitations which are discussed below:
With the benefits DNA based Technology also suffers the privacy issues as the DNA tests not only reveal the physical features of an individual but also some irrelevant information’s like individual allergies or susceptibility to diseases.
Misuse of information :
Subsequently, there is a high risk of misuse of information from the DNA analysis which is also a limitation of this bill. The degree of misuse very high and cause serious harm to the individual as well as society as a whole.
Not reliable data:
In some cases, the DNA data that is recovered from the crime scene is not enough to produce a proper as well as relevant evidence to support the case.
Data storage issues is also a limitation of this bill
In a real sense, DNA based technology is very expensive.
Failed to reveal:
DNA samples failed to reveal how a person looks or what is eye colour or skin colour etc.
According to my view, DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 plays a very important role in strengthening the judicial system by introducing the DNA based technology which is used to identify certain persons which are mentioned in the schedule including offenders which are the evils of the society. DNA based technology is very prominent in revealing the identification individual just by hair sample or blood sample on the clothes which will actors the relevant evidence which supports the case in revealing the real culprit of the case. Therefore, DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 as per my view is a must for today’s India.