News:The DNA Technology Regulation Bill has been referred to a parliamentary standing committee for examination.
What is DNA?
- DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule that contains the genetic instructions.
- It can be extracted from samples of blood,tissue,hair and bodily fluids.Outside of identical twins,no two people have the same DNA pattern.
Features of the bill:
- The bill seeks to set up national and regional DNA data banks that will maintain samples under categories such as (a)crime scene (b)suspect or under-trial (c)offenders (d)missing persons and (e)unknown deceased person.
- It also seeks to establish a DNA Regulatory Board.Every laboratory that analyses DNA samples to establish the identity of an individual has to be accredited by the board.
- The bill also proposes a written consent by individuals be obtained before collection of their DNA samples.However,consent is not required for offences with punishment of more than seven years in jail or death.
- The bill also provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or court order and of undertrials on the basis of a court order.
- The bill also says that leaking of identifiable DNA information will be punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of 1 lakh.
- Further,the altering or destroying DNA samples is also punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2 lakh.
Criticism of the bill:
- India does not have a data protection law and that information like ancestry or susceptibility to a disease or other genetic traits is liable to be misused.
- It has also been argued that DNA tests have not led to an improvement in conviction rates in countries where legislation is already being followed.