Private companies, public sector undertakings (PSUs) and government departments in India will now be able to verify the antecedents of a potential employee for any criminal record through the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS).

The CCTNS is a centralized repository of criminal records that is digitally interlinked with all police stations across India.

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The ministry of home website states that citizens, institutions or companies can verify the antecedents of prospective employees, including domestic help, drivers, teachers, security guards etc, tenants, or for any other purpose through CCTNS.

They can also seek certification of their own antecedents.

Government departments can also check the character and antecedents of employees at the time of recruitment by accessing the centrally linked criminal database.

The companies, PSUs and government departments may have to pay a fee to gain access to CCTNS, a report stated.

Sources in the home ministry said that allowing private companies, PSUs and government departments to access FIRs digitally would not give rise to any legal complications.

It will depend entirely on the employer if he wishes to hire a prospective employee with a past criminal record.

Minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy had informed that 95 per cent of the total 16,098 police stations in the country have access to CCTNS software at present.

Many expressed their concern over privacy after the home ministry had informed the Rajya Sabha of permitting the National Crime Records Bureau to use an automated facial recognition system (AFRS) for the identification of criminals, unclaimed bodies and missing persons.

Putting fears at rest, the home ministry said that this shall not violate privacy as AFRS will be accessed only by the law enforcement agencies.

NCRB may now integrate AFRS with CCTNS for accurate identification of criminals.

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