The Privateness Concerns of the Felony Identification Act, 2022 – The RMLNLU Regulation Overview Weblog

By: Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri


In April 2022, the Felony Course of (Identification) Bill, 2022 (hereinafter ‘Act’) obtained the President’s approval, nevertheless the hullabaloo surrounding it. The Act replaces the century-old Identification of Prisoners Act and makes an try to assemble what it calls ‘measurements’ to find out and look at jail points. The knowledge to be recorded beneath it might comprise bodily and natural samples, along with fingerprint impressions, palm-print impressions, iris and retina scans, amongst others. The Act, other than enhancing the accuracy and effectivity of investigations, targets at enhancing conviction prices. Nevertheless an elevated assortment of knowledge doesn’t basically finish in elevated prevention of crime. Extra, a significant and scientific examination of the Act reveals grievous constitutional violation as falling wanting quite a few fundamental rights acknowledged by the Indian Construction. The authors, nonetheless, have restricted themselves to the discuss surrounding the right to privateness. They’ve disputed the Act’s constitutionality by testing it on the grounds of proportionality. The authors have moreover carried out a substantial comparative analysis from the angle of European Union (hereinafter ‘EU’) authorized tips.


Privateness is a fundamental human correct acknowledged by various worldwide gadgets.[1] In India, the right to privateness wasn’t explicitly acknowledged. Nonetheless, in August 2017, the Supreme Court docket docket of India in Puttaswamy (I) unanimously affirmed the fundamental correct to privateness as an integral part of Article 21 and completely different rights enshrined beneath Half III of the Construction. Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud, whereas leaving the scope of the right undefined to not unduly restrict its ambit seen that “privateness safeguards explicit individual autonomy and acknowledges the ability of the individual to manage essential components of his or her life. Non-public choices governing a way of life are intrinsic to privateness”. The Supreme Court docket docket of India moreover well-known that the European Court docket docket of Human Rights (hereinafter ‘ECtHR’) has upheld the right to privateness and has interpreted it to entail a non-public sphere that may’t be outlined by an ‘exhaustive report’. Later, in Puttaswamy (II), the Supreme Court docket docket acknowledged ‘informational privateness’, along with biometric information and completely different non-public data inherent to the right to privateness. The measurement outlined throughout the Act constitutes private and personal data. The gathering and retention of which could amount to an interference with the right to privateness.


To validate this infringement of informational privateness, the Act ought to stand the check out of proportionality. Although, the Supreme Court docket docket of India has utilized the doctrine of proportionality in one other approach on utterly completely different occasions. The analysis herein focuses on the fourfold check out laid down in Fashionable Dental College v State of MP, which was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court docket docket throughout the Puttaswamy (II). The doctrine of proportionality constitutes;

(i) legality (the movement must be sanctioned by regulation).

(ii) Respected intention (the proposed movement must be important for a democratic society for a legit intention).

(iii) proportionality (the extent of such interference must be proportionate to the need for such interference) and,

(iv) Procedural ensures (there must be procedural ensures in opposition to abuse of such interference).

Whereas the Act satisfies the foremost need of established regulation, it fails to adapt to the other three requirements. The authors have analyzed the constitutional legitimacy of the Act by making use of utterly completely different components of the proportionality check out.

The legit intention mandates the regulation to be low-cost. This legitimacy is a guarantee in opposition to state despotism. The Act usuriously empowers the magistrate to direct any explicit individualto supply measurements. This, other than resulting in govt arbitrariness, will overlook the ‘presumption of innocence’ of individuals not convicted for any offense. In S and Marper v. the UK, the ECtHR objected to an identical scheme and emphasised the hazard of stigmatization that stemmed from the reality that people who had not been found accountable had been entitled to the presumption of innocence and should not be dealt with the similar as people who had been found accountable. Whereas the introduction of latest strategies for improved investigations into jail offenses could symbolize a legit intention, an arbitrary enlargement of the scope and ambition of the Act cannot be categorized as a legit state intention.

The interference with or restriction on a fundamental correct must be low-cost to the need for such interference. Any measure taken by the federal authorities have to be applicable for reaching the concerned aim. The check out mandates that “the means being adopted have to be proportionate for reaching the acknowledged intention”. The Act offers for the retention of knowledge for seventy-five years, which unambiguously could also be relegated as ‘indefinite’ whereas evaluating it in opposition to the standard life expectancy of Indians, which stands at spherical 70 years. In Gaughran v the UK, the ECtHR held the indefinite retention of biometric data of individuals which have been convicted of crimes carrying a custodial sentence is taken into consideration to be a violation of their correct to respect their privateness. Extra, in S and Marper v the UK, the indefinite retention of knowledge original a mandatory trigger for the annulment of legal guidelines. The ECtHR has moreover on quite a few occasions really useful that “any measure interfering with the protection of personal information beneath Article 8 ought to meet a pressing social need and shouldn’t be disproportionate to the legit targets pursued”. The gathering of measurements from folks neither arrested nor convicted and its indefinite retention is what manifests the Act to be with out rational nexus.

Justice Chandrachud (writing for 3 completely different judges) put forward the three checks viz. legality, legit intention, and proportionality for validating impairment on privateness, as talked about above. Within the similar judgment, Justice Kaul in his concurring opinion went ahead and added the fourth check out of ‘procedural ensures’ which requires the presence of procedural safeguards to check in opposition to the abuse of state interference. The Act doesn’t set out any procedural safeguards for the gathering and subsequent retention of knowledge. This overview course of has an austere battle of curiosity since solely the members of the supervisor are empowered as a result of the monitoring authority and since the authority for issuing orders for the gathering and retention of knowledge. There is not a judicial oversight for the gathering, retention and destruction of knowledge subjected to the acquisition of an individual. The Supreme Court docket docket in Puttaswamy (II)(Aadhaar Judgment) whereas acknowledging the necessity for judicial oversight, scrapped Half 33(2) of the Aadhar Act, which equipped the ability to authorize the revelation of biometric or demographic data to ensure nationwide security. The courtroom docket held that to rule out any potential misuse, such authorization requires “utility of judicial ideas for concluding that disclosure of the info is throughout the curiosity of nationwide security”.


The blemish of getting one’s non-public data floating spherical in our on-line world hasn’t been given due consideration by lawmakers. The Act has the potential of being misused in opposition to disadvantaged and marginalized groups in society. Globally, nations are making efforts to safeguard their residents’ information viz. United Kingdom Data Security Act, European Union Regular Data Security Regulation and so forth. Attributable to this reality, how can the protection of the data obtained in India be assured throughout the absence of a information security regime? Thus, to secure the non-public data of those, whose information is being collected beneath this Act, it is essential to enact a information security legal guidelines.

Extra, to guarantee that the rights of the folks won’t be violated, terminologies like ‘measurement’, ‘behavioural traits’, and ‘any explicit individual’ have to be given a restrictive interpretation. The commerce and misuse of the data collected by the use of this Act shouldn’t be allowed and the Regulation Enforcement Firms (hereinafter ‘LEAs’) should not be allowed to utilize and buy this data for any unlawful perform. The state have to be subject to the retention of knowledge to judicial oversight to cut back the supervisor’s arbitrariness. This is ready to moreover help variety a system of checks and balances, improve transparency, and improve most people faith throughout the Act.

“One of the best to privateness shouldn’t keep an empty promise. It is a major correct that has constitutional recognition; subsequently, lawmakers shouldn’t depart it revocable on the government’s whim”.

Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri are second-year regulation faculty college students at Gujarat Nationwide Regulation School. The primary curiosity of the authors accommodates Constitutional Regulation and Human Rights Regulation. The authors may be contacted via e-mail at shaharyaa[email protected] and/or [email protected] respectively.

Cite as: Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri, ‘Breaching Proportionality, Tearing Constitutionality: The Privateness Concerns of the Felony Identification Act, 2022’ (The Rmlnlu Regulation Overview Weblog28 September 2022) date of entry.

[1] Widespread Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12; Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 17; the European Convention for the Security of Human Rights and Elementary Freedoms, Article 8.

[2] Zv. Finland [1997] ECHR 10; Khelili v. Switzerland [2011] ECHR 195; Vicent Del Campo v. Spain [2018] ECHR 909

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