Sunday 30 June 2024

What is basic concept of Narco analysis test? How Supreme Court has dealt it in the judgment of Selvi V State of Karnataka?

 Narco analysis, also known as a "truth serum" test, involves the administration of certain drugs,  to induce a hypnotic or sedated state in which the subject is believed to be more likely to reveal truthful information. The subject is then interrogated in this state, with the aim of obtaining information that might be concealed when they are fully conscious.

In the context of Indian law, the Supreme Court of India addressed the admissibility and ethical considerations of narco analysis in the landmark case of Selvi & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Anr., decided in 2010. This judgment has significant implications for the use of narco analysis, as well as other similar techniques like polygraph tests and brain mapping.

Here are the key points from the Selvi judgment:

  1. Right Against Self-Incrimination: The Court held that conducting narco analysis, polygraph tests, and brain mapping on an individual without their consent violates the fundamental right against self-incrimination, as guaranteed under Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution. This article states that no person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against themselves.

  2. Right to Privacy and Bodily Integrity: The Court emphasized that these tests involve the physical and mental intrusion of the individual's privacy, and therefore, they infringe upon the right to privacy and bodily integrity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court highlighted that the use of such techniques without consent is an unreasonable invasion of personal liberty.

  3. Voluntary Consent: The Court ruled that such techniques can only be conducted on an individual if they provide voluntary consent. Even then, the results of these tests cannot be used as confessions in court but can be used for further investigation.

  4. Admissibility of Evidence: The results of narco analysis, polygraph tests, and brain mapping are not admissible as evidence in court due to the involuntary nature of the information obtained. However, any material or leads derived from such tests can be investigated further to gather independent evidence.

  5. Guidelines and Safeguards: The Court directed that specific guidelines and safeguards must be followed while conducting these tests, even with consent. This includes ensuring that the subject's consent is obtained before a judicial magistrate and that a detailed record of the procedure is maintained.

The Selvi judgment thus places significant restrictions on the use of narco analysis, emphasizing the protection of individual rights and liberties against invasive and potentially coercive methods of investigation.

Leading Supreme Court Judgment on Narco analysis test

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