NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today considered the submission of the Centre that it would move a Bill in the upcoming Parliament session for DNA profiling to enable authorities to maintain records of unidentified and unclaimed dead bodies or missing persons.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the statement made by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, and disposed of a petition, saying the government should take steps as "expeditiously as possible".
"The counsel for Union of India submitted that a legislation is likely to be brought as expeditiously as possible in the upcoming parliamentary sessions. Considering the submission, we dispose of the petition," the bench said.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by the NGO stating that India does not have a national DNA database to address the issue of thousands of unclaimed dead bodies that are reported annually.
It had suggested that maintaining of the DNA profiles of the bodies before their disposal could help in their identification by the family members.
The bench also said the petitioner NGO 'Lokniti Foundation' would be at liberty to move the court again in case of any grievances, after it was told that the government has been promising a law since 2007.
There are as many as 40,000 unclaimed bodies across the country every year and DNA profiling would help the families of the deceased, the NGO said, adding that figures are identical with regard to missing children and persons of unsound mind.
The apex court had in 2014 issued a notice to Ministry of Home Affairs, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, seeking their responses to the petition.
The NGO in its plea had said "since the bodies cannot be identified using traditional methods, the perpetrators of the possible crime remain untraced and the families, to which the victims belonged, never come to know about the fate of their near and dear ones."
It had said that the DNA profiling of unidentified bodies can help match the missing persons and trace them.
The NGO had claimed that though the government had been considering a proposal for DNA profiling of unidentified bodies since 2007, but no decision had been taken as yet.
"One of the main reasons for a large number of bodies remaining unidentified is that a person freely moves from one part to another in search of work and members of poor families have no means to keep in touch with their near and dear ones."
"It becomes difficult for the local police to identify persons who have no local connection and who have died without anyone complaining of death caused by any mischief," the plea had said.