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India: Text of Communist Party of India Resolution Demanding Scrapping of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2019 | Aug 25, 2020

26 August

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Resolution on Demanding Scrapping of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2019

The National Executive of the Communist Party of India that met on virtual platform on August 25, 2020 expresses deep concern over the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2019 and calls upon the government to drop it. The bill was introduced in the Parliament on July 8, 2019 and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on October 17, 2019.

Under the bill DNA testing is allowed for establishment of individual identities. It proposes DNA profiling of Indian citizens accused of crime or reported missing. Consenting provisions can be overridden by a magistrate’s order thereby making the consent perfunctory. The bill permits retention of DNA profiles obtained in the crime scenes to perpetuity. The bill is very ambiguous about the entry, retention and removal of DNA profiles. There is utter disregard to privacy and safeguard of an individual. Penalty for disclosure of DNA information and unauthorised use of DNA samples is not stringent. The draft bill states that no legal proceedings can be initiated against the Union government or any member of the board of the DNA National Data Bank for any action that is done in “good faith”. What is good faith is not known.

These are fatal flaws of the bill. The bill, if enacted may prove to be dangerous. It can be misused for caste and community based profiling. DNA profiles can reveal extremely sensitive and intimate genetic information. The law will be a shot in the arm of BJP to perpetrate its casteist and communal agenda.

India has already been using DNA profiling in criminal investigations but do not store DNA information in the national data base. Even in countries where such data bases are stored concerns are raised about possible misuse.

The National Executive reiterates its strong protest against the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2019 and urges the government to desist from making it a law.

Communist Party of India
Central Office
Ajoy Bhavan
15, Com. Indrajit Gupta Marg
New Delhi- 110002
Tel: 011 23235546