DNA regulation — the new premature baby!

Each of us leave a trace of our physical self everywhere we go, sit and stand, eat and sleep. Such traces are inconspicuously left through our finger prints, hair strands and bodily fluids. It is scientifically possible to identify and match an individual through their DNA material. One must take note that the DNA samples collected for any purpose can be very easily tainted. Just a small contaminant or particle would corrupt the reporting’s of DNA sampling. As a concerned citizen in an incredible country which is exposed to a Pandora’s Box of evolving ethos, where crimes are as casual as any other activity one would naturally hope for messiah like measures to combat harm and dispossession of inherent rights. Security to self takes fore ground when we look toward the justice mechanism for aid. In all humanness it is but relevant to seek a normative regulatory structure for quick crime resolution. Such a proposal as put forth by the phantom NGO Lokniti is the DNA regulation Bill, the same which has been approved by the cabinet in July this year.

The long and arduous journey of this Bill took many forms from 2003 and has been redrafted many a times to finally be the ‘The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2018.’ With the noblest of intentions the government wants to utilize this DNA regulation Bill to deliver steadfast justice in a timely manner by maintaining a DNA database & repository and mandated DNA testing under predefined circumstance. The Bill seeks to maintain a national DNA database to aid in fastidious criminal prosecution which requires collection of DNA from suspects, involving the mention of their caste during DNA collection process which in turn leads to pervasive caste hierarchy.

While the Western economically sound countries have enough extra to spare monetarily for DNA testing and technology being at their beck and call, it would have been really worth thinking twice before going ahead with this luxurious DNA Bill in the land of the falling rupee. Agreed that the dead need some decent goodbyes and a DNA collection norm for the unidentified dead is a relevant protocol to follow, it should be considered that there are much grave issues to be tackled with before we moved on to criminal DNA database. While data privacy laws are in the blind spot and the executives never bat an eyelid at the callous absence of citizen data protection, they are much more considerate at needing to maintain a criminal DNA data base, unidentified dead DNA database and DNA testing for issues involving parentage.

It is important to understand that most citizen data is exposed when authoritarian compulsion drives sensitive data to be voluntarily submitted and we have a lot to lose from it. The issue regarding UIDAI’s unwarranted penetration into citizen’s mobiles by placing their toll free number in the contacts list of Aadhar card holders is a living proof that we are heading towards a dangerous state of governance with autocratic tendencies. Patterned behavioral analysis is a despicable crime and that is exactly what happens when citizen data is exposed without any sort of data privacy laws. It is also a low-cost affair to set regulations for anybody — person or corporate while they deal with public data. This only goes to prove inherent ambiguity or the lack of clear judgment to hold discretion on the essentiality of a statute beneficial for common man. It would not be wrong to say oops at the hasty passing of the DNA regulation bill.

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