Prisons and jails
As of December 31, 2014, there were 1,387 functioning jails in India with a capacity to house 356,561 prisoners according to NCRB data. [Representational Image]Reuters

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Director Ish Kumar has said the police need to be given access to Aadhaar data to catch first-time offenders and for identifying bodies.

Addressing the 19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Prints Bureaux in Hyderabad, the NCRB chief stated every year nearly 50 lakh cases are registered in the country and most of them are the handiwork of first-timers who leave their fingerprints on the scene of which police have no record in their database.

"To help in the investigation in such cases, police needs to access the Aadhaar data. As they are novices, the culprits unwittingly leave their fingerprints at the scene of the crime. Limited access to Aadhaar can help us catch them," Ish Kumar suggested.

He said every year around 40,000 unidentified bodies are recovered and Aadhaar data can help identify them and their relatives can be informed.

The NCRB director also called for the modernisation of state fingerprint bureaux.

"States at present don't have an adequate number of fingerprint experts or proper equipment and labs. That is the reason that despite there being 50 lakh crime cases every year, fingerprint experts are able to visit only 55,000 crime scenes," said Ish.

He added that fingerprint experts should be sent abroad for advanced training.

Ish also advocated amending the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, so as to include capturing of biometric data such as iris, veins, signature and voice.