The Privateness Considerations of the Prison Identification Act, 2022 – The RMLNLU Regulation Overview Weblog

By: Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri


In April 2022, the Prison Process (Identification) Invoice, 2022 (hereinafter ‘Act’) obtained the President’s approval, however the hullabaloo surrounding it. The Act replaces the century-old Identification of Prisoners Act and makes an attempt to gather what it calls ‘measurements’ to establish and examine legal issues. The information to be recorded below it will comprise bodily and organic samples, together with fingerprint impressions, palm-print impressions, iris and retina scans, amongst others. The Act, moreover enhancing the accuracy and effectivity of investigations, targets at enhancing conviction charges. However an elevated assortment of knowledge does not essentially end in elevated prevention of crime. Additional, a crucial and scientific examination of the Act reveals grievous constitutional violation as falling wanting a number of elementary rights acknowledged by the Indian Structure. The authors, nonetheless, have restricted themselves to the talk surrounding the correct to privateness. They’ve disputed the Act’s constitutionality by testing it on the grounds of proportionality. The authors have additionally carried out a considerable comparative evaluation from the attitude of European Union (hereinafter ‘EU’) legal guidelines.


Privateness is a elementary human proper acknowledged by varied worldwide devices.[1] In India, the correct to privateness wasn’t explicitly acknowledged. Nevertheless, in August 2017, the Supreme Court docket of India in Puttaswamy (I) unanimously affirmed the elemental proper to privateness as an integral a part of Article 21 and different rights enshrined below Half III of the Structure. Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud, whereas leaving the scope of the correct undefined to not unduly prohibit its ambit noticed that “privateness safeguards particular person autonomy and acknowledges the flexibility of the person to manage very important facets of his or her life. Private selections governing a lifestyle are intrinsic to privateness”. The Supreme Court docket of India additionally famous that the European Court docket of Human Rights (hereinafter ‘ECtHR’) has upheld the correct to privateness and has interpreted it to ivolve a private sphere that can not be outlined by an ‘exhaustive listing’. Later, in Puttaswamy (II), the Supreme Court docket acknowledged ‘informational privateness’, together with biometric information and different private info inherent to the correct to privateness. The measurement outlined within the Act constitutes personal and private info. The gathering and retention of which might quantity to an interference with the correct to privateness.


To validate this infringement of informational privateness, the Act should stand the take a look at of proportionality. Though, the Supreme Court docket of India has utilized the doctrine of proportionality otherwise on totally different events. The evaluation herein focuses on the fourfold take a look at laid down in Trendy Dental Faculty v State of MP, which was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court docket within the Puttaswamy (II). The doctrine of proportionality constitutes;

(i) legality (the motion should be sanctioned by legislation).

(ii) Legit intention (the proposed motion should be obligatory for a democratic society for a reputable intention).

(iii) proportionality (the extent of such interference should be proportionate to the necessity for such interference) and,

(iv) Procedural ensures (there should be procedural ensures in opposition to abuse of such interference).

Whereas the Act satisfies the foremost want of established legislation, it fails to adapt to the opposite three necessities. The authors have analyzed the constitutional legitimacy of the Act by making use of totally different facets of the proportionality take a look at.

The reputable intention mandates the legislation to be cheap. This legitimacy is a assure in opposition to state despotism. The Act usuriously empowers the Justice of the Peace to direct any particular personto offer measurements. This, moreover leading to government arbitrariness, will overlook the ‘presumption of innocence’ of people not convicted for any offense. In S and Marper v. the UK, the ECtHR objected to an identical scheme and emphasised the chance of stigmatization that stemmed from the truth that those that had not been discovered responsible had been entitled to the presumption of innocence and shouldn’t be handled the identical as those that had been discovered responsible. Whereas the introduction of recent methods for improved investigations into legal offenses may represent a reputable intention, an arbitrary enlargement of the scope and ambition of the Act can’t be labeled as a reputable state intention.

The interference with or restriction on a elementary proper should be cheap to the necessity for such interference. Any measure taken by the federal government must be appropriate for attaining the involved goal. The take a look at mandates that “the means being adopted must be proportionate for attaining the recognized intention”. The Act supplies for the retention of knowledge for seventy-five years, which unambiguously may be relegated as ‘indefinite’ whereas evaluating it in opposition to the common life expectancy of Indians, which stands at round 70 years. In Gaughran v the UK, the ECtHR held the indefinite retention of biometric info of people that have been convicted of crimes carrying a custodial sentence is taken into account to be a violation of their proper to respect their privateness. Additional, in S and Marper v the UK, the indefinite retention of knowledge fashioned a necessary motive for the annulment of laws. The ECtHR has additionally on a number of events recommended that “any measure interfering with the safety of non-public information below Article 8 should meet a urgent social want and should not be disproportionate to the reputable goals pursued”. The gathering of measurements from people neither arrested nor convicted and its indefinite retention is what manifests the Act to be with out rational nexus.

Justice Chandrachud (writing for 3 different judges) put ahead the three exams viz. legality, reputable intention, and proportionality for validating impairment on privateness, as mentioned above. In the identical judgment, Justice Kaul in his concurring opinion went forward and added the fourth take a look at of ‘procedural ensures’ which requires the presence of procedural safeguards to examine in opposition to the abuse of state interference. The Act does not set out any procedural safeguards for the gathering and subsequent retention of data. This evaluation course of has an austere battle of curiosity since solely the members of the manager are empowered because the monitoring authority and because the authority for issuing orders for the gathering and retention of knowledge. There isn’t a judicial oversight for the gathering, retention and destruction of knowledge subjected to the acquisition of a person. The Supreme Court docket in Puttaswamy (II)(Aadhaar Judgment) whereas acknowledging the need for judicial oversight, scrapped Part 33(2) of the Aadhar Act, which supplied the facility to authorize the revelation of biometric or demographic info to make sure nationwide safety. The courtroom held that to rule out any attainable misuse, such authorization requires “software of judicial thoughts for concluding that disclosure of the data is within the curiosity of nationwide safety”.


The blemish of getting one’s private info floating round in our on-line world hasn’t been given due consideration by lawmakers. The Act has the potential of being misused in opposition to deprived and marginalized teams in society. Globally, nations are making efforts to safeguard their residents’ information viz. United Kingdom Knowledge Safety Act, European Union Basic Knowledge Safety Regulation and many others. Due to this fact, how can the safety of the information obtained in India be assured within the absence of an information safety regime? Thus, to safe the private info of these, whose information is being collected below this Act, it’s crucial to enact an information safety laws.

Additional, to make sure that the rights of the people usually are not violated, terminologies like ‘measurement’, ‘behavioural traits’, and ‘any particular person’ must be given a restrictive interpretation. The trade and misuse of the information collected via this Act should not be allowed and the Regulation Enforcement Companies (hereinafter ‘LEAs’) shouldn’t be allowed to make use of and purchase this information for any illegal objective. The state must be topic to the retention of knowledge to judicial oversight to scale back the manager’s arbitrariness. This is able to additionally assist type a system of checks and balances, enhance transparency, and enhance the general public religion within the Act.

“The suitable to privateness should not stay an empty promise. It’s a fundamental proper that has constitutional recognition; due to this fact, lawmakers should not go away it revocable on the government’s whim”.

Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri are second-year legislation college students at Gujarat Nationwide Regulation College. The first curiosity of the authors consists of Constitutional Regulation and Human Rights Regulation. The authors could also be contacted by way of electronic mail at shaharyaa[email protected] and/or [email protected] respectively.

Cite as: Shaharyaar Shahardar and Mahika Suri, ‘Breaching Proportionality, Tearing Constitutionality: The Privateness Considerations of the Prison Identification Act, 2022’ (The Rmlnlu Regulation Overview Weblog28 September 2022) date of entry.

[1] Common Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12; Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 17; the European Conference for the Safety of Human Rights and Elementary Freedoms, Article 8.

[2] Zv. Finland [1997] ECHR 10; Khelili v. Switzerland [2011] ECHR 195; Vicent Del Campo v. Spain [2018] ECHR 909

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