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Delhi HC issues notice to Centre on PIL seeking review of Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022

ANI | Updated: Apr 21, 2022 12:30 IST


New Delhi [India], April 21 (ANI): Delhi High Court issued notice to the Centre after a Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed, seeking judicial review of the provisions of the recently promulgated Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022.
The said Act was passed in the Lok Sabha on April 4, 2022, in the Rajya Sabha on 6 April 2022 and received the assent of the President and was subsequently published in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary) on 18 April 2022.
The Bench headed by the Acting Chief Justice of Delhi Vipin Sanghi along with Justice Navin Chawla while issuing notice to the Union of India through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice said, it requires consideration.
The bench also noted the submission made by Advocate Amit Mahajan, appearing for Union of India, opposed the plea on maintainability grounds and stated that the vires of an act cannot be challenged in the PIL.
The petitioner Harshit Goel, sought a judicial review of Sections 2(1)(a) (iii), 2(1) (b), 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the Act, and prayed for appropriate direction to declare the aforesaid provisions of the Act as unconstitutional and void.

The new act replaces the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. The Act earlier allowed the collection of finger and footprint impressions and photographs of a limited category of convicted and non-convicted persons.
The newly introduced Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act allows Police to collect finger impressions, palm prints impressions, footprint impressions, photographs, iris and retina scans, and physical and biological samples. It also permits the authorities to collect behavioural attributes, including signatures, handwriting or any other examination referred under Section 53 or Section 53A of CrPC.
The plea moved through Advocates Yashwant Singh, Harshit Anand, Aman Naqvi submitted that the Fundamental Right to Life and Personal Liberty under the Article 21 provides a shield to protect 'bodily integrity and dignity', and such protection extends to prisoners, undertrials, arrested persons, detainees in the course of investigation and persons in protection homes. Forcing an individual to part with his 'measurements' under the provisions of the Act violates the standard of 'substantive due process' which is required for restraining personal liberty.
The plea submitted that Sections 3 and 5 of the Act, in flagrant violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court, allows excessive, coercive and arbitrary intrusion into the dignity of a convict as well as of an individual who may be called in for simple questioning, or who is involved in the pettiest of offences. These provisions constitute a clear attack on 'personal liberty' and clearly fall foul of Article 21 of the Constitution and are thus liable to be struck down.
The plea further submitted that Section 8 of the Act suffers from the vice of excessive delegation since the legislature has clearly abdicated its legislative function vide this Section. Section 8 allows the Central Government and the State Governments to frame rules regarding issues that are the subject matter of legislative policy without providing any guidance or framework on rule-making to the Executive. (ANI)

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