. The primary intended purpose of “The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019” is for expanding the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country. The utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world. By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in this country, there is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable, and furthermore that the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.
Salient features of the bill are as follows:
Use of DNA Data
Under the Bill, DNA testing is allowed only in respect of matters listed in the Schedule to the Bill. These include offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and for civil matters such as paternity suits. Further, the Schedule includes DNA testing for matters related to establishment of individual identity.
Collection of DNA
While preparing a DNA profile, bodily substances of persons may be collected by the investigating authorities. Authorities are required to obtain consent for collection in certain situations. For arrested persons, authorities are required to obtain written consent if the offence carries a punishment of up to seven years.
DNA Data Bank
The Bill provides for the establishment of a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks, for every state, or two or more states. DNA laboratories are required to share DNA data prepared by them with the National and Regional DNA Data Banks.
DNA Regulatory Board
The Bill provides for the establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board, which will supervise the DNA Data Banks and DNA laboratories. The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, will be the ex officio Chairperson of the Board.
Any laboratory undertaking DNA testing is required to obtain accreditation from the Board. The Board may revoke the accreditation for reasons including, failure to:
- Undertake DNA testing, or
- Comply with the conditions attached to the accreditation.