Criminal Investigation Current Affairs - 2020

GOI: World’s largest Face Recognition system in India to track criminals

GoI has asked the IT companies across the world to send proposals to NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau) to install world’s largest facial recognition system. The winner of the bids will create National Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS). The step is an effort towards information gathering, police force modernization, criminal identification and verification.

About AFRS

The System will match images from India’s CCTV camera network. The network will include data from various government agencies. This will help to create a robust system to identify criminals, missing chinldre, unidentified dead bodies, etc. With NCRB’s recent report on India’s crimes, the system will help to change the current scenario. The crimes have increased by 3.6% in 2017 as compared to 2015.


There are possibilities for misuse of the technology. The system should have a strong security wall to protect the data collected. Also there should be a strong regulatory framework for facial recognition as it is linked to prople’s right to privacy. There is no such framework in India to regulate the storage of facial recognition data.

Use of AADHAAR biometric data for criminal investigation is not permissible: UIDAI

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has notified that use of Aadhaar biometric data for criminal investigation is not allowed under Aadhaar Act, 2016. This comes after National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Director Ish Kumar made strong pitch for police to be provided with limited access to Aadhaar data to aide them in catching first-time offenders and for identification of unidentified bodies.

UIDAI’s Notification

As per Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act, the biometrics data collected by UIDAI can be used only for purpose of generating Aadhaar and for authentication of identity of Aadhaar holders and cannot be used for any other purpose. The very limited exception to this is allowed under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act, which permits use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data in cases involving national security only after pre-authorisation by oversight committee headed by Cabinet Secretary. This is also consistent stand taken by Union Government in ongoing Aadhaar case in the Supreme Court. Based on this legal stance, UIDAI has never shared any biometric data with any crime investigating agency.


The NCRB Director at the 19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Prints Bureau in Hyderabad had said that limited access to Aadhaar data was needed to be given to police for purpose of catching first time offenders and for identification of unidentified bodies. At present around 50 lakh cases were registered every year in the country and most of them (80 to 85%) are committed by first time offenders who leave their fingerprints, which are available in police records. So there is need for access to Aadhaar data to police for purpose of investigation.