The DNA Technology Regulation (DTR) Bill, which seeks to control the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of a person, has been referred to a parliamentary standing committee (PSC) for examination, the Lok Sabha secretariat has said. The Bill that seeks to control the use and application of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology for establishing the identity of certain categories of persons, including offenders, victims, suspects and undertrials, was passed by the Lok Sabha in July.
- The Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu.
- Members are informed that the Chairman, Rajya Sabha in consultation with the Speaker, Lok Sabha has referred the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019, as introduced in Lok Sabha, to the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests for examination and report within three months.
- The Chairman of the committee, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, has invited suggestions from the public on the Bill.
- A similar bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in January last year but it could not be cleared in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill had then lapsed with the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.
- The Bill provides for the establishment of a national DNA data bank and regional DNA data banks.
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.