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Last Updated: May 17, 2007 - 8:46:52 AM
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DNA fingerprinting bill likely to be tabled soon
Apr 2, 2007 - 12:00:22 AM
He called for setting up a DNA profiling board and a national human genetics commission, a think tank to advise the government and the judiciary on various social and legal issues.

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[RxPG] Hyderabad, April 1 - A bill providing for creation of a database of DNA fingerprints of criminals is likely to be tabled in parliament soon.

The Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics - and the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research - have together drafted the bill.

According to CDFD director J. Gowrishankar, the draft bill was sent to the law ministry, which had sought certain clarifications.

'We have sent our views to the law ministry and the draft bill has now been referred to the home ministry. We hope that in the next two months a final draft will be ready for tabling it in parliament,' he told IANS.

The bill facilitates creation of a database of DNA fingerprints of convicts and provides for quality control and quality assurance in DNA fingerprinting and diagnostics.

CDFD founder director Seyed E. Hasnain, who played a key role in drafting the legislation, however, cautioned that the fingerprint data should not be used for purposes other than criminal justice system.

He was addressing a two-day workshop on 'forensic science and biotechnology', organised by the Press Institute of India - for journalists at CDFD here Sunday.

Hasnain, who is now the vice chancellor of Hyderabad University, wants the authorities concerned to gear up to address social, ethical and legal issues that may crop up with the creation of such a database.

'The creation of proposed database throws up many questions. Who should be included in the database and who should not be? Who should have access to it? Can the suspects be forced to provide DNA samples? We will have to be sensitive, careful and aware to address these questions,' he said.

Hasnain, under whose leadership CDFD cracked many high profile cases, is, however, against police managing DNA laboratories. 'Police play multiple roles. They are the prosecutors and it is very likely that they implicate somebody or suppress truth by swapping DNA samples as happened in a fake gun battle case in Kashmir,' he said.

He called for setting up a DNA profiling board and a national human genetics commission, a think tank to advise the government and the judiciary on various social and legal issues.

'The remarkable feature of DNA is that individuals leave at least traces of it almost everywhere. A few of the everyday objects handled by us, such as pens, telephones, mugs and keys are some of the things that require attention from a crime investigator,' he said.

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