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Law Commission report on Human DNA Profiling
Sep 06, 2017

[GS Paper II: (Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies)]

The Law Commission of India has recently submitted a report on ‘Human DNA Profiling’. The report also proposes a draft Bill ‘The DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017’ for the use and regulation of DNA based technology.

DNA profiling

  • DNA profiling is a scientific technique used for disaster victim identification, investigation of crimes, identification of missing persons and human remains, and for medical research purposes.
  • The report states the need for the regulation of human DNA profiling by a special law with defined standards, quality controls and quality assurance systems. Further, such profiling would be restricted to certain purposes only.

Need for a legislation

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 added explanations to clarify the scope of medical examination with respect to extraction of bodily substances.
  •  This includes the examination of blood, sputum, hair samples, etc. by scientific techniques including DNA profiling.
  • The Report notes that DNA analysis offers substantial information which if misused may cause serious harm to individuals and the society. 
  • Its misuse may result in disclosure of personal information affecting the privacy of the person concerned. 
  • In this context, the Report highlights the absence of an appropriate regulatory mechanism for the handling of DNA samples and profiles.

The Draft DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017

  • Only for identification: DNA profiling would be undertaken exclusively for identification of a person and would not be used to extract any other information. Further no bodily substances will be taken from a person unless the consent is given for the same.
  • DNA Profiling Board: A DNA Profiling Board will be constituted as a statutory body which will be responsible to supervise, monitor, inspect and assess DNA laboratories.
  • DNA Data Bank: The Bill proposes a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks (for the states). The Data Banks will be responsible for storing DNA profiles received from the accredited laboratories.
  • Penalties: The violators of the provisions would be liable for punishment of imprisonment, which may extend up to three years and also a fine which may extend up to Rs two lakhs.


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