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

By: Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri


In April 2022, the Felony Process (Identification) Invoice, 2022 (hereinafter ‘Act’) obtained the President’s approval, however the hullabaloo surrounding it. The Act replaces the century-old Identification of Prisoners Act and makes an attempt to gather what it calls ‘measurements’ to determine and examine prison issues. The information to be recorded beneath it could comprise bodily and organic samples, together with fingerprint impressions, palm-print impressions, iris and retina scans, amongst others. The Act, apart from enhancing the accuracy and effectivity of investigations, targets at enhancing conviction charges. However an elevated assortment of information does not essentially end in elevated prevention of crime. Additional, a vital and scientific examination of the Act exhibits grievous constitutional violation as falling wanting a number of basic rights acknowledged by the Indian Structure. The authors, nonetheless, have restricted themselves to the talk surrounding the proper to privateness. They’ve disputed the Act’s constitutionality by testing it on the grounds of proportionality. The authors have additionally carried out a considerable comparative evaluation from the attitude of European Union (hereinafter ‘EU’) legal guidelines.


Privateness is a basic human proper acknowledged by varied worldwide devices.[1] In India, the proper to privateness wasn’t explicitly acknowledged. Nonetheless, in August 2017, the Supreme Court docket of India in Puttaswamy (I) unanimously affirmed the elemental proper to privateness as an integral a part of Article 21 and different rights enshrined beneath Half III of the Structure. Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud, whereas leaving the scope of the proper undefined to not unduly limit its ambit noticed that “privateness safeguards particular person autonomy and acknowledges the power of the person to regulate important elements of his or her life. Private decisions governing a lifestyle are intrinsic to privateness”. The Supreme Court docket of India additionally famous that the European Court docket of Human Rights (hereinafter ‘ECtHR’) has upheld the proper to privateness and has interpreted it to ivolve a private sphere that can’t be outlined by an ‘exhaustive record’. Later, in Puttaswamy (II), the Supreme Court docket acknowledged ‘informational privateness’, together with biometric knowledge and different private info inherent to the proper to privateness. The measurement outlined within the Act constitutes non-public and private info. The gathering and retention of which might quantity to an interference with the proper to privateness.


To validate this infringement of informational privateness, the Act should stand the take a look at of proportionality. Though, the Supreme Court docket of India has utilized the doctrine of proportionality in another way on completely different events. The evaluation herein focuses on the fourfold take a look at laid down in Trendy Dental School v State of MP, which was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court docket within the Puttaswamy (II). The doctrine of proportionality constitutes;

(i) legality (the motion should be sanctioned by regulation).

(ii) Reputable intention (the proposed motion should be essential for a democratic society for a legit intention).

(iii) proportionality (the extent of such interference should be proportionate to the necessity for such interference) and,

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

Whereas the Act satisfies the foremost want of established regulation, it fails to adapt to the opposite three necessities. The authors have analyzed the constitutional legitimacy of the Act by making use of completely different elements of the proportionality take a look at.

The legit intention mandates the regulation to be cheap. This legitimacy is a assure in opposition to state despotism. The Act usuriously empowers the Justice of the Peace to direct any particular personto offer measurements. This, apart from leading to govt arbitrariness, will overlook the ‘presumption of innocence’ of people not convicted for any offense. In S and Marper v. the UK, the ECtHR objected to an analogous scheme and emphasised the danger of stigmatization that stemmed from the truth that those that had not been discovered responsible had been entitled to the presumption of innocence and shouldn’t be handled the identical as those that had been discovered responsible. Whereas the introduction of recent methods for improved investigations into prison offenses may represent a legit intention, an arbitrary enlargement of the scope and ambition of the Act can’t be categorized as a legit state intention.

The interference with or restriction on a basic proper should be cheap to the necessity for such interference. Any measure taken by the federal government must be appropriate for reaching the involved goal. The take a look at mandates that “the means being adopted must be proportionate for reaching the recognized intention”. The Act gives for the retention of information for seventy-five years, which unambiguously may be relegated as ‘indefinite’ whereas evaluating it in opposition to the typical life expectancy of Indians, which stands at round 70 years. In Gaughran v the UK, the ECtHR held the indefinite retention of biometric info of people that have been convicted of crimes carrying a custodial sentence is taken into account to be a violation of their proper to respect their privateness. Additional, in S and Marper v the UK, the indefinite retention of information fashioned a necessary cause for the annulment of laws. The ECtHR has additionally on a number of events recommended that “any measure interfering with the safety of private knowledge beneath Article 8 should meet a urgent social want and should not be disproportionate to the legit goals pursued”. The gathering of measurements from people neither arrested nor convicted and its indefinite retention is what manifests the Act to be with out rational nexus.

Justice Chandrachud (writing for 3 different judges) put ahead the three checks viz. legality, legit intention, and proportionality for validating impairment on privateness, as mentioned above. In the identical judgment, Justice Kaul in his concurring opinion went forward and added the fourth take a look at of ‘procedural ensures’ which requires the presence of procedural safeguards to test in opposition to the abuse of state interference. The Act does not set out any procedural safeguards for the gathering and subsequent retention of information. This overview course of has an austere battle of curiosity since solely the members of the manager are empowered because the monitoring authority and because the authority for issuing orders for the gathering and retention of information. There isn’t a judicial oversight for the gathering, retention and destruction of information subjected to the acquisition of a person. The Supreme Court docket in Puttaswamy (II)(Aadhaar Judgment) whereas acknowledging the need for judicial oversight, scrapped Part 33(2) of the Aadhar Act, which supplied the facility to authorize the revelation of biometric or demographic info to make sure nationwide safety. The court docket held that to rule out any potential misuse, such authorization requires “utility of judicial thoughts for concluding that disclosure of the data is within the curiosity of nationwide safety”.


The blemish of getting one’s private info floating round in our on-line world hasn’t been given due consideration by lawmakers. The Act has the potential of being misused in opposition to deprived and marginalized teams in society. Globally, nations are making efforts to safeguard their residents’ knowledge viz. United Kingdom Information Safety Act, European Union Normal Information Safety Regulation and so forth. Due to this fact, how can the safety of the information obtained in India be assured within the absence of a knowledge safety regime? Thus, to safe the private info of these, whose knowledge is being collected beneath this Act, it’s crucial to enact a knowledge safety laws.

Additional, to make sure that the rights of the people will not be violated, terminologies like ‘measurement’, ‘behavioural traits’, and ‘any particular person’ must be given a restrictive interpretation. The trade and misuse of the information collected by way of this Act should not be allowed and the Regulation Enforcement Companies (hereinafter ‘LEAs’) shouldn’t be allowed to make use of and purchase this knowledge for any illegal function. The state must be topic to the retention of information to judicial oversight to scale back the manager’s arbitrariness. This is able to additionally assist kind a system of checks and balances, enhance transparency, and enhance the general public religion within the Act.

“The best to privateness should not stay an empty promise. It’s a primary proper that has constitutional recognition; subsequently, lawmakers should not depart it revocable on the govt’s whim”.

Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri are second-year regulation college students at Gujarat Nationwide Regulation College. The first curiosity of the authors contains Constitutional Regulation and Human Rights Regulation. The authors could also be contacted through e-mail at [email protected] and/or [email protected] respectively.

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

[1] Common Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12; Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 17; the European Conference for the Safety 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