The Union Cabinet will take a call tomorrow on a bill which seeks to set up DNA data banks across India to store profiles, and also impose jail term of up to three years on those who leak the information stored in such facilities.
The draft bill also states that all DNA data including DNA profiles, DNA samples and records, will only be used for identification of the person and not for "any other purpose".
In 2017, the Law Commission of India, in its 271st report, had prepared the draft Bill called The DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017, stressing on its usage for disaster victim identification, criminal investigation and identification of missing persons.
The Bill had invited criticism from groups who flagged privacy concerns in the procedure. Information from DNA samples gives intrustive details likes health, which can be misused. The draft Bill, however, states that all DNA data including DNA profiles, DNA samples and records, will only be used for identification of the person and not for "any other purpose".
Once approved by the Cabinet, the bill will be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon session beginning July 18.
The draft bill, based on the one prepared by the Law Commission recently, states that national and regional DNA data banks will be set up for maintaining a national database for identification of victims, accused, suspects, undertrials, missing persons and unidentified human remains.
It states that those leaking the DNA profile information to people or entities who are not entitled to have it will be punished with a jail term of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs one lakh.
Similar punishment is also prescribed for those who seek the information on DNA profiles illegally.
The government had recently informed the Supreme Court that the bill for DNA profiling to enable maintenance of records of unidentified and unclaimed dead bodies or missing persons, is likely to be brought in the upcoming session of Parliament.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the statement made by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, saying the government should take steps "as expeditiously as possible".
The court was hearing a PIL stating that India did not have a national DNA database to address the issue of thousands of unclaimed dead bodies that are reported annually.
It had suggested maintaining of DNA profiles of the bodies before their disposal which could help in their identification by the family members.