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Report No. 268

I. The need for a central intelligence database and electronic tagging

11.24 The criminal justice system in India is on the path to scale up its criminal data gathering, data analytics and data-sharing capabilities. Although criminal antecedents can be discovered through a record of FIR and judgements, both of which can be found online, however, the information is piecemeal and not easily accessible. For instance, the Court, prosecutors and the police should be able to triangulate information about an person accused of an offence, in order to enable them to proceed expeditiously and efficiently.

11.25 The technical architecture of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) scheme may be adapted and utilized to ensure that the person accused of an offence does mark his appearance, by taking a picture and/or his fingerprints, name, father's name, mother's name, spouse's name, address, date of birth, mobile number, contact number, driving license, voter ID, Aadhaar number and criminal history, if any. The Delhi High Court, in the past has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to start a cell on criminal records of abductors and kidnappers.

Such kind of extra judicial developments may be used as a catalyst to set up national criminal databases, link various investigating agencies and judiciary. These links may call for the active involvement of the Ministry of Home Affairs, facilitated by various state and national authorities282. In such manner, decision making of the Courts, public prosecutors, the investigation agencies and various other authorities that perform key functions in upholding the law and deliver justice would aid in their functioning.

11.26 Electronic tagging has the potential to reduce both fugitive rates (by allowing the defendant to be easily located) and government expenditures (by reducing the number of defendants detained at state expense)283. Electronic tagging or monitoring is defined in legislation of New Zealand. It states that, "Electronically monitored bail (EM bail) is a restrictive form of bail. A person on EM bail must remain at a specified residence at all times unless special permission to leave is granted for an approved purpose (such as work). Compliance is monitored via an electronically monitored anklet that must be worn 24 hours a day... EM Bail is available in New Zealand for suitable defendants and young people (12- 17 years of age) who would otherwise continue to be held in custody, in prison, or in the instance of a young person in a youth residence, while they wait for a court hearing. The defendant and young person are considered innocent until found guilty at a trial."284

11.27 The Law Commission the grave and significant impact on constitutional rights of electronic monitoring system and it is of the opinion that such system, if used, must be implemented with highest degree of caution. Such monitoring must be used only in grave and heinous crimes, where the accused person has a prior conviction in similar offences. This may be done by amending the appropriate legislations to restrict the application of electronic tagging to hardened criminals, and any Court order under the specified legislation must contain reasons for the same.

Amendments to Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 - Provisions relating to Bail Back

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