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Report No. 87

2.3. Statement of objects and Reasons.-

At this stage, we would like to quote the statement of Objects and Reasons annexed to the Bill which became the Act of 1920. The reasons for the enactment of the Act are thus given in the Statement of Objects1:

1. Gazette of India, (1920), Part V, p. 162.

"Statement of Objects and Reasons The object of this bill is to provide legal authority for the taking of measurements, finger impressions, foot-prints and photographs of persons convicted of, or arrested in connection with, certain offences. The value of the scientific use of finger impressions and photographs as agents in the detection of crime and the identification of criminals is well known, and modem developments in England and other European countries render it unnecessary to enlarge upon the need for the proposed legislation.

The existing system by which the police in India take finger impression, photographs etc., of criminals and suspected criminals is void of legal sanction, except as regards registered members of criminal tribes, in whose case provision exists for the taking of finger impressions in section 9 of the Criminal Tribes Act,1 1911 (III of 1911). The need for legalising the practice has long been recognised, but it was not thought expedient to take the matter up so long as no practical difficulties arose. Instances have recently been reported to the Government of India where prisoners have refused to allow their fingerprints or photographs to be taken. With a view to prevent such refusals in future it is considered necessary without further delay to place the taking of measurements, etc., which is a normal incident of police work in India as elsewhere, on a regular footing. No measurement, etc., of any person will be taken compulsorily unless that person has been arrested."2

1. Criminal Tribes Act, 1911.

2. Paras. 5.21 and 5.22, infra.

Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 Back

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