The Rundown on Background Checks in India
Posted: December 03, 2020
While background screening has always been a fairly common practice in India, it is growing in popularity as the country experiences an increase in CV fraud, which occurs when job applicants misrepresent themselves in cover letters and resumes. This phenomenon has created a greater need for background screening. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey, HR misrepresentation, especially when work candidates submit false capabilities, adversely affects companies and should be avoided. As noted in the report, economic crime, including HR fraud, can negatively affect a company’s bottom line, decrease employee morale, adversely affect business relationships and harm a company’s brand and reputation.
Because of the high amount of risk in hiring in India, employers should seriously consider implementing a background screening program in order to decrease the risk of human resources fraud. A solid background screening program will credentials for full-time, part-time, and temporary workers. Companies in India must familiarize themselves with the legal and cultural nuances prior to launching a program. For example, it is important to keep in mind that consent should always be obtained from the applicant before conducting a background check in India, and schools and employers often request the applicant’s authorization in writing before providing any verification information.
Legal and Data Privacy Considerations of Conducting Background Checks in India
While India currently does not have data privacy laws and “privacy” is not specified in India’s Constitution as being a formal right, there are several pieces of legislation that provide guidance in this area, including the Constitution of India’s Article 21, which guarantees, “[n]o person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” Article 21 has been referred to in numerous Supreme Court cases as related to upholding an individual’s right.
India’s NDA government (National Democratic Alliance) has argued that there is no right to privacy under the Constitution. In addition, the Information Technology Act 2000 and the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules 2011 give parameters on personal data. Sensitive personal data includes financial information, sexual orientation, medical records and history, physical, physiological and mental health condition, passwords and biometric information (i.e., fingerprints, voice patterns, DNA, etc.). While it is legal for companies to collect sensitive personal information, it is only legal if it for lawful and necessary purpose like background checks, and with consent of the individual.
Available Background Checks in India
The most common background checks in India are employment history verification, education verifications, professional reference checks, and criminal records checks. There are other checks available, including reviewing motor vehicle records checks but they are typically only used when they are relevant to the position or the industry. It is common to have a school or employer request the applicant’s authorization in writing before providing any verification information.
- India Criminal Records Search – Criminal records searches in India are conducted at the local police station, where many records stored in paper form versus electronically. Turnaround times may be longer for rural areas or police stations that are not equipped with efficient technology. Criminal records searches are conducted at the local police station, where many records are still stored in paper form versus electronically. Turnaround times may be longer for rural areas or police stations that are not equipped with efficient technology. Requirements: Name, date of birth, full address, father’s name, release form.
- India Civil Records Search – The India Civil Record search is available at the local level. Report may include case type, file date, case number, name of court where case was filed, plaintiff, defendant and disposition if a case can be located. Requirements: Name, date of birth, address, release.
- India Bankruptcy Records Search – This search is conducted through the IBBI (Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India), NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal), BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction). Report may include file date, case number, name of court where case was filed and case status if a bankruptcy case can be located. Requirements: Full Name of the Individual including Alias and Surname if any, Fathers Name, Complete Address with Postal Code, Address History if available, Copy of PAN Card and Another Government Issued ID.
- Education Degree Verification in India – Educational institutions will be contacted to verify dates of attendance, graduation date and degree information. It is common to verify only the highest degree obtained by a candidate. Keep in mind that schools often charge additional fees without advance notice. Requirements: Name, date of birth, school name, degree, major, dates of attendance, city of school, release form, copy of degree. All year’s marks sheets are also often required.
- Employment Verification in India – Employers will be contacted to verify the individual’s title, dates of employment and if the candidate is eligible for rehire. Typically, employment verifications do not extend beyond a 7-year time frame absent a legal or regulatory requirement to obtain that information. Current employers will only be contacted with express consent from the applicant. Requirements: Name, date of birth, employer name and contact information, dates of employment, position held, release form, employee ID. Additional documentation such as a relieving letter are often requested as well. It is common to verify the last seven years of employment for candidates in India. Employers will be contacted to verify the individual’s title, dates of employment and if the candidate is eligible for rehire.
- Reference Check in India – This search is conducted via telephone or at sometimes via e-mail with the individual’s personal or professional references using a standard list of questions. Requirements: Applicant name and date of birth, reference’s relationship, contact name and contact information (including phone number and email address).
- Motor Vehicle Records – The motor vehicle records search will confirm if the individual possesses a driver’s license. Details of the driving record may be provided if available.
- Global Monitor Check– The Global Monitor Check (GMC) is database product that searches a variety of databases
- ID Check in India – A validation and/or verification of the data subject’s identity documents. Requirements: Name, DOB, Address, Consent Form, Identification Card Color Copy (Front and Back).
- Directorship Check in India – A search to determine if a candidate had fiduciary or board of directors’ responsibilities for a company.
There are numerous other background searches available in India, including passport checks and license checks. Reach out to your background check provider for information on available searches and turnaround times.
For more information on conducting India background checks, or for information on international background checks in general, please feel free to reach out to the Info Cubic team at (877) 360-4636.
It is important to note that the preceding is offered as general educational information and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Given the intricacies of the pertinent laws and regulations, consultation with qualified legal counsel is recommended.