Limited Aadhaar data needed by police to identify first-time offenders: NCRB chief

Limited access to Aadhaar for catching first time offenders through their fingerprints and to identify unclaimed bodies required says NCRB chief

Limited access to Aadhaar data is needed to be given to police for the purpose of catching first-time offenders and for identification of bodies, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) director Ish Kumar.

At present, around 50 lakh cases were registered every year in the country and most of them committed by first-time offenders who leave their fingerprints, which would not be available in police records, he said on 22 June at the 19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Prints Bureau in Hyderabad.

Limited Aadhaar data needed by police to identify first-time offenders: NCRB chief

A woman goes through the process of finger scanning for the Unique Identification (UID) database system, Aadhaar, at a registration centre in New Delhi, India. Image: Reuters

“There is a need for access to Aadhaar data to police for the purpose of investigation. This is essential because 80 percent to 85 percent of the criminals every year are first-time offenders with no records [of them available] with the police. But they also leave their fingerprints while committing the crime,” he said. “There is a need for limited access to Aadhaar, so that we can catch them.”

Similarly, more than 40,000 unidentified bodies were recovered every year. With access to Aadhaar, these could be identified and handed over to their relatives.

Request to Minister Kumar said that though the (Aadhaar) matter was pending before the Supreme Court, he has requested Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir (who participated in the meeting) to look into the matter. “We will have to make some limited access for these two purposes it will be good for investigation,” he said.

Another issue that required an early intervention by the Home Ministry was the amendment to the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, so that other modern biometrics such as iris, veins, signature and voice could also be captured. There was also need to do away with the clause of one-year rigorous imprisonment, as very few sections in the IPC have that provision. The NCRB had sent a proposal to the Centre.

Kumar also stressed the urgent need for modernisation of all State fingerprint bureaus.

“At present, fingerprint experts were able to visit only around 55,000 crime scenes, which was just 1 percent of the 50 lakh cases filed annually, and grossly inadequate. This is because, many States neither have adequate fingerprint cadre strength nor proper equipment and labs,” he said, adding that fingerprint experts should also be sent abroad for advance training with the Interpol or the FBI.