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Why Asaduddin Owaisi objects to Parliamentary Committee’s report on DNA Technology Regulation Bill

The DNA Technology Regulation Bill, 2019, runs afoul of the right to privacy and will cause "irreversible damage" to individuals’ right to privacy and the criminal justice system given the absence of a privacy law, according to Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi. He said that the bill ignores the Supreme Court's Puttaswamy judgment, and should be introduced after the Personal Data Protection Law is enacted. The Bill itself has gaps around privacy; by retaining profiles in perpetuity and having a inordinately powerful DNA regulator, among other things, Owaisi said.  The Bill, which has been in the making for years now, aims to establish laboratories and DNA data banks to scale the use of DNA profiles in the criminal justice system. Among the core tenets of the Bill are the creation of data banks that will house the DNA profiles of not just convicts, but also undertrials, suspects, missing people, and of samples gathered from crime scenes. The bill proposes the setting up of a DNA Regulatory Board — an evidently government-heavy body — to oversee operations, standardise labs, ensure ethics around privacy and civil liberties, among other functions. The bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Science and Technology and Environments, Forests, and Climate Change, which is chaired by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, in October 2019. The Committee submitted its report to Parliament on February 1 (see our summary), recommending several changes. Owaisi, however, felt the changes recommended were inadequate. In a dissent note he sent to Jairam Ramesh…

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