Tuesday, 15 July 2014

India: Government plans DNA database to help find missing people

The government told the Indian Supreme Court on Monday that it intends to create a database of DNA profiles for the first time to locate missing persons and to identify bodies, and a Bill in this regard is in the pipeline.

The decision is significant as approximately 40,000 unidentified bodies are disposed of every year, removing every trace of their existence.

At the same time, thousands are reported missing across the country.

The DNA profiles will be used to ascertain if there is a connection between unidentified bodies and missing persons.

The Centre provided the information in its response to a PIL filed by the NGO Lokniti Foundation, seeking a direction to the government to implement a scientific system of DNA profiling at the national-level for cross-matching missing persons reported from different parts of the country with unidentified bodies.

The PIL said it will also help establish the identity of victims in mass disaster situations like a tsunami, fire or terror attacks.

"Government is seized of the matter and will take an appropriate decision. We are not undermining the issue. But keeping in mind the expertise, expense and infrastructure involved, extensive consultation is required. We are even planning a bill on the issue," Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul told a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.

The NGO'S lawyer, Ashok Dhamija, said the INTERPOL Global DNA Profiling Survey of 2008 showed that 120 of 172 INTERPOL member countries were using forensic DNA profiling in criminal investigation, and as many as 54 countries had set up full-fledged national DNA databases.

Tuesday 15 July 2014



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