India may soon have a legal framework in place for creating a DNA fingerprinting database of convicts. A draft providing for the creation of such a database and its admissibility in courts as evidence is ready and is likely to be tabled in parliament this year.
The first draft of the bill is being circulated among ministries of law, home affairs and science. The final draft will be presented to the cabinet before it is tabled in the parliament.
If passed, the bill will allow one to store, retrieve and use a DNA fingerprinting database of convicts and criminals. It is the need of the hour because the finality of court judgments pertaining to criminal cases is being questioned. Further more, with more than a dozen state forensic laboratories handling DNA fingerprinting cases and private laboratories too entering the field, the bill also provides for quality control and quality assurance.
Development of such a database is expected to be highly useful and effective in the criminal investigation and justice delivery system in our country. Currently, DNA test findings are presented as expert evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, but have no statutory recognition.
The introduction of this system is in line with the fundamental principles of law and order. Infact, when cases were reopened in various countries based on DNA evidence, many persons who were convicted were found to be innocent based on DNA profiling. Every person leaves traces of his DNA at the crime scene. It is the gathering of these traces at a scene of offence that helps investigators in identifying the criminal.
It is very important to remember that the witnesses may turn hostile and other circumstantial evidences can be manipulated, but the DNA does not lie. While the DNA's chemical structure is the same in all human beings, there is a recognizable difference in the order in which the millions of base pairs found in each person's DNA is arranged. It is this difference that is captured by DNA fingerprinting.
Source: Indo-Asian News Service
Medindia on DNA fingerprinting:
Unlike a conventional fingerprint that occurs only on the fingertips and can be altered by surgery, a DNA fingerprint is the same for every tissue, and organ of a person. It cannot be altered by any known treatment.
More on Medindia: