DNA Profiling and Right to Privacy – A Socio-Legal Analysis of the Conundrum

Image Credits – DarkCube Studio

On 27 September 2016, the draft Bill of Identification of Missing Persons and Human Remains Bill, 2016 was sent to the Law Commission of India for assessment and modification, whenever required. DNA profiling technology, which depends on demonstrated scientific standards has been viewed as exceptionally viable for social government assistance, especially, in empowering the Criminal Justice Delivery System to distinguish the wrongdoers. Such tests connecting with a party would establish corroborative evidence.

Liking the utilization and regulation of DNA based technology in judicial procedures, especially, the ID of people blamed for offenses under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and different laws, recognizable proof of missing people and calamity casualties separated from its utilization in clinical sciences, a need has for quite some time been felt to have an exceptional regulation to manage human DNA profiling. DNA examination offers significant data that whenever abused or utilized inappropriately may hurt people and the general public all in all. The Commission considered the draft Bill and in view of its assessment of the applicable issues it arrived at the resolution that just revising the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, may not fill the need.

Taking into account the extent of the utilization and abuse of human DNA profiling, it has been felt that it is needed to be directed by an extraordinary law with all-around depicted norms, quality controls, and quality affirmation frameworks to guarantee the validity of the DNA testing, confining it to the reasons set down in the Act. Along these lines, there is a need to direct the utilization of human DNA profiling through an independent law of Parliament so that such use is suitably managed and limited to lawful purposes as it were.

The Law Commission while amending the draft Bill has likewise been aware of the worries raised by the Courts in regards to suitable utilization of DNA technology by making it essential for the DNA testing focuses to keep the rules and principles which are recorded in the Bill and the subtleties thereof will be worked out in regulations.

Constitutional and Legal Aspects of DNA Profiling

The Constitution of India under Article 51A(h) and (j) projects an obligation on each resident of India to foster the scientific attitude, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and to endeavor towards greatness in all circles of individual and aggregate action. Under Entry 65 and 66 of the Union List, Parliament is skillful to embrace regulations that support different mechanical and scientific strategies to identify wrongdoings, accelerate examination and decide guidelines in establishments for advanced education and improvement in specialized foundations. The other important provisions of the Constitution are Article 20(3)(I) which ensures a right against self-incrimination and Article 21 which ensures the right to life and freedom of each individual.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872

  • Section 9 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 accords with facts important to clarify or present reality in an issue or significant truth.
  • Section 45 gives concerning how the Court needs to shape an assessment upon a mark of foreign law or of science or art, or personality of handwriting or finger impressions and so forth.
  • Section 51 alludes to grounds when assessment becomes significant.
  • Section 112 gives that birth during the continuation of a legitimate marriage is an indisputable proof of authenticity with the main exemption that the guardians had no admittance to one another during the time of origination.
  • Under Section 114 the Court might assume the presence of any reality which it thinks liable to have occurred, respect being had to the normal course of regular occasions, human conduct, and public and private business, in their connection to the facts of the particular case.
  • In the event that the evidence of an expert is important under Section 45, the ground on which such assessment is inferred is likewise applicable under Section 51
  • Section 46 arrangements with facts bearing upon the assessments of experts. The assessment of a specialist in light of DNA profiling is likewise applicable to a similar relationship. Anyway whether or not a DNA test can be coordinated has forever been an easy to refute issue.

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Section 53-A was added vide the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005, giving that an accused of rape can be analyzed by a clinical expert, which will incorporate the taking of real substances from the accused of DNA profiling. It is imperative that the said Amendment subbed the Explanation to Sections 53 and 54, and made it appropriate to section 53A also to explain the extent of examination, particularly concerning the utilization of present-day and scientific strategies including DNA profiling.

  • Section 53 approves the police authorities to get a clinical examination of a captured individual done over the span of an examination by an enrolled clinical expert.

Decisions dealing with Self-Incrimination of Persons

This case managed the issue of self-incrimination and held Self-incrimination should mean passing on data in view of the individual information on the individual giving the data and can exclude just the mechanical course of delivering records in court which might illuminate any of the places in contention, however, which don’t contain any assertion of the accused in light of his own insight. 

The Supreme Court in this case saw that the extent of ‘testimonial compulsion’ is clarified by two premises. The first is that customarily it is the oral or composed explanations that pass on the individual information on an individual in regard to applicable facts that add up to ‘individual testimony’ subsequently drawing near the restriction thought about by Article 20(3).

In this case, the questions emerged concerning whether a Voice Spectrographic Test without the consent of an individual outrages Article 20(3) of the Constitution and on the off chance that the said arrangement isn’t disregarded, regardless of whether a magistrate, without any legal arrangement or innate power under the arrangements of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 (Cr. P.C.) has the skill to guide an individual to be exposed to such a test without his consent. However, the Court, in this case, held that stepping through such an exam would not abuse the command of Article 20(3) of the Constitution as has been held by the Supreme Court in the Selvi case.

The Supreme Court in this case while squeezing upon the meaning of DNA testing during the time spent administration of equity held when there is an evident clash between the right to protection of an individual not to submit himself persuasively to clinical examination and the obligation of the court to arrive at reality, the court should practice its carefulness solely after adjusting the interests of the parties and on due thought whether for an only choice regarding the present situation DNA test is prominently required.

Right to Privacy and DNA profiling

Gene Engineering

These are some of the cases where it has mentioned about Right to privacy and DNA profiling.

The Supreme Court in this case kept the presence from getting such a right while managing the instance of search and seizure, noticing a power of search and seizure is in any jurisprudence an abrogating force of the State for the assurance of government-backed retirement and that power is essentially controlled by law.

Right of privacy is anything but a reliable right under our Constitution and, in this way, the endeavor to determine the developments of a person which is only a way in which privacy is attacked isn’t an encroachment of a crucial right ensured by Part III.

The SC in this case held that the right to privacy is a basic part of the right to life. This is an appreciated constitutional worth and people really must be permitted areas of opportunity that are liberated from public examination except if they act in an unlawful way. 

The SC in this case held that the right to privacy is a verifiable right to life and freedom ensured to the residents of this country by Article 21. It is an option to be let alone. A resident has the privilege to defend the privacy of his own, his family marriage, reproduction, parenthood, childbearing, and education among different issues.

  • R. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu and People’s Union for Civil Liberties

Right to privacy may not be outright as in outstanding conditions, particularly, on account of observation in consonance with the legal arrangements the right to privacy has additionally been held to be a fundamental right of the citizen by the Supreme Court.

The SC in this case held that the Right to privacy is an individual right unmistakable from a right to property. Interruptions into it by the legislature are to be tried on the standard of reasonableness and for that reason, the Court can go into the proportionality of the interruption versus the reason, looked to be accomplished as the right to privacy is part of the right to life revered in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The other fundamental feature is to exhibit restricted fitting that is the State should show that regardless of whether a convincing interest exists, it has embraced a strategy that will encroach in the tightest conceivable way upon the individual right.

The Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2016

Human Cloning
  • The Bill 2016 was drafted by the Department of Biotechnology and was submitted to the Government of India. The Bill proposed to frame a National DNA Data Bank and a DNA Profiling Board, and for involving the data for different purposes determined in the Bill.
  • The proposed DNA Profiling Board would have comprised atomic biology, human genetics, population biology, bioethics, social sciences, and law and criminal equity experts.
  • The Board was to characterize guidelines and controls for DNA profiling. It was additionally to guarantee labs and handle access of data put away by law requirement offices. Comparable bodies at State levels were also to be framed.
  • The National DNA Data Bank should gather data from guilty parties, suspects, missing people, unidentified dead bodies, and volunteers.
  • It was to profile and store DNA data in criminal cases like murder, rape, infidelity, and different wrongdoings. The data was to be accessible likewise to the accused or the suspect for demonstrating his non-contribution to the wrongdoing or if nothing else to a layout that he was absent on the spot of the event at the pertinent time. The Bill was censured for not tending to the worries of privacy by countless associations and public vivacious people on comparative grounds and made different portrayals to the legal specialists.
  • The Bill didn’t make extraordinary arrangements in regard to the financing of the Board and how the expected assets will be made accessible to the researching offices to gather legitimate reports of tests. Also, the Bill didn’t explicitly give as to at what stage the examples could be gathered.


DNA Profiling, a precise and grounded scientific strategy is utilized for disaster victim recognizable proof, investigation of crimes, the ID of missing people and human remaining parts, and for clinical examination purposes. The greater part of the nations has ordered proper laws inside the system of their individual constitutions and other lawful structures for the previously mentioned purposes.

DNA Profiling and use thereof includes different lawful and moral issues and concerns are brought and misgivings exist up in the personalities of the everyday person about its abuse which except if safeguarded may bring about the revelation of individual data, for example, wellbeing related data equipped for being abused by people having prejudicial interests, antagonistically influencing the privacy of the individual. Regardless of whether in the Indian setting privacy is an indispensable part of Article 21 of the Constitution involves scholastic discussion.

The issue is forthcoming thought before the bigger seat of the Supreme Court. The Bill of 2017 gives arrangements planned to safeguard the right to privacy. The instrument gave licenses to the handling of DNA tests just for 13 CODIS loci which would not disregard at all the privacy of an individual and therefore won’t ever go past recognizable proof of a particular individual. The severe adherence to 13 CODIS Loci will kill the fear of uncovering hereditary characteristics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *