DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    17th Jan, 2019


The Lok Sabha passed DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 which allows regulated use of DNA technology to establish the identity of certain defined categories of persons, including offenders, suspects, and undertrials.


Highlights of the bill

  • The Bill regulates the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of persons in respect of matters listed in a Schedule. These include criminal matters (such as offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860), and civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs.
  • The Bill establishes a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks. Every Data Bank will maintain the following indices: (i) crime scene index, (ii) suspects’ or undertrials’ index, (iii) offenders’ index, (iv) missing persons’ index, and (v) unknown deceased persons’ index. 
  • The Bill establishes a DNA Regulatory Board. Every DNA laboratory that analyses a DNA sample to establish the identity of an individual has to be accredited by the Board.
  • Written consent by individuals is required to collect DNA samples from them. Consent is not required for offences with punishment of more than seven years of imprisonment or death.  
  • The Bill provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on filing of a police report or court order, and of undertrials on the basis of a court order. Profiles in the crime scene and missing persons’ index will be removed on a written request.  

What is DNA Technology?

  • The Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a set of instructions found in a cell. These instructions are used for the growth and development of an organism.  The DNA of a person is unique, and variation in the sequence of DNA can be used to match individuals and identify them.DNA technology, therefore allows for accurate establishment of an individual’s identity.

How is DNA technology helpful?

  • It can be used to aid criminal investigations. For example, the identity of a criminal offender may be determined by matching DNA found at the crime scene with the DNA of a suspect.
  • In addition, it helps in identification of victims in the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters such as earthquakes. For example, DNA technology has been used to identify victims of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, and disasters such as the Asian tsunami in 2004.
  • Further, DNA profiling can be used in civil matters, such as parentage related disputes.

Is DNA technology currently regulated?

  • Currently, the use of DNA technology for identification of individuals is not regulated. In the past, several expert groups including the Law Commission, have looked at the use and regulation of DNA technology.
  • The Bill regulates the use of DNA technology for the purpose of identification of persons in criminal and civil matters.   

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