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IS THE NARCO-ANALYSIS TEST LEGAL IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

The investigation and interrogation procedure in India had become obsolete and ineffective prior to the development of numerous scientific tools, with police mostly depending on practices that are not appropriate in a civilized society. Criminal questioning has somewhat adapted to the emergence of technologies in numerous sectors of our existence. One such tool that aids in this is narco-analysis. Narco analysis is a claim made by the defendant using some scientific instruments that may be used as evidence against him. A forensic specialist, investigative officer, or psychologist will be present while the narcotics test is being conducted. It is a less intense substitute for other popular third-degree treatments utilized by investigative agencies. The substance, sometimes called a “truth serum,” is alleged to have been employed by intelligence agents during World War II because it is thought to make a subject less determined to reveal the truth.

LEGAL PROVISIONS ON NARCO-ANALYSIS IN INDIA

In general, because narco-analysis tests are carried out by people, they are not admissible as evidence who is only partially that implies of this, the court retains the right to grant limited admissibility after considering the testing environment. According to Article 20 (3) of the Constitution[1], it is prohibited to do narcoanalysis, brain imaging studies or lie detector tests performed without the accused’s knowledge. In the 1961 case of State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad[2], the court determined that proof that the witness was coerced into making a self-incriminating statement was necessary in order to use the safeguards of Article 20(3) of the Constitution. The right to life, liberty, and privacy are all implicitly protected by India’s constitution’s article 21[3]. Nobody is allowed to publish anything on the aforementioned problems without his consent, whether it is truthful or untrue, constructive or destructive.

IN WHAT MANNER IS THE TEST RUN?

The subject is physically evaluated before the procedure to determine whether the test is warranted given his or her medical condition. Thiopentone, often known as sodium pentothal, is injected into the subject as a hypnotic. But the dosage varies according to the person’s age, sex, and other health issues. An individual could die or enter a coma if given the incorrect dosage. The test must also be conducted with other safety measures in mind.

ACCEPTABILITY OF NARCO-ANALYSIS IN A COURTROOM

While narco-analysis produced a tonne of information, it also raised many questions because some people were against using the serum on a witness to obtain the truth. Narco-analysis is viewed as a resource or help in gathering and bolstering evidence. Whether it violated freedom, individual liberties, and human rights and constituted testimony coercion in the legal system is up for debate. A narco-analysis test result may have some validity, but it may not be entirely admissible in court, which will take into account the circumstances surrounding its acquisition and determine if it should be allowed. These tests’ results can be used to obtain admissible evidence, supplement give more supporting evidence for existing evidence. However, if the results of this test are not admitted in court, they cannot be used to corroborate any other evidence found through a routine investigation.

ANTI-SELF-INCRIMINATION RIGHTS

The coin always has two sides. On the one hand, the narco-analysis test aids in the discovery of fresh information, leads, or proof that may advance the investigation or serve as a spur to the administration of justice. Contrarily, narco-analysis may be subject to constitutional protections such as the right to life, the right to privacy, and the privilege against self-incrimination if done unlawfully or with excessive force.

The narco analysis has been acknowledged by the courts as an acceptable method of inquiry. It is useful when the interests of society as a whole are at stake and take precedence over those of any one person. The courts determined in Rojo George Vs. Deputy Superintendent of Police[4] that because modern crimes are committed in more technologically advanced and sophisticated ways, the results of classic methods of investigation may not always be fair. The lengthier the investigation, the longer the actual culprit has to hide his misdeeds. As a result, there have always been differing opinions on narco-analysis, which has led to an ongoing discussion.

CRITIQUE OF THE DRUG ANALYSIS TEST

Since narco-analysis is not always accurate, it has come under fire. Some of the subjects made blatantly false allegations, it was found. It frequently fails to elicit the truth; therefore, it shouldn’t be regarded as a benchmark for the confession made to the police prior to using narcotics. It has been demonstrated that someone can lie even after taking medication. It is of limited help if the person is dishonest, evasive, or untruthful. It is exceedingly challenging to recommend the ideal prescription strength for a particular patient. In accordance with the subject’s mental state, the drug dosage will change, physical constitution, and willpower. An effective narcoanalysis test does not require injection.

It requires a skilled interviewer who has been instructed to develop pertinent and perceptive interview questions in order to be successful. A narco-analysis test enables the suspect to regain memories that were previously lost. This test result may be in doubt if it is being used to extract confessions to crimes. Suspects may purposely omit information or continually give misleading accounts of being drugged at the time, of the incident. Narcoanalysis should not be used in criminal investigations. It might be advantageous to use narco-analysis in medical contexts, such as the treatment of psychiatric diseases. Without the subject’s agreement, the test should not be used in a criminal inquiry.

CONCLUSION

Narco-analysis has always been criticized due to the belief that it violates the accused’s right to life and right to privacy as various human rights have advanced. It is always debatable whether or not the requirements of Article 20(3) of the Constitution are satisfied because it is the only fraud detection test that calls for the testifier to make comments. The courts have argued that if the nature and circumstances of the case call for a narco-test, conducting a narco-analysis is permissible. There should not have been any indication of coercion or force used against the accused, and the accused should have freely agreed to the narco test. The prosecution cannot utilize the statements made by the accused to support their case and they cannot be used as evidence.

Author(s) Name: Garima Kamboj (University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh)

References:

[1] The Constitution of India, 1949, art. 20 (3)

[2] State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad, AIR 1961 SC 1808

[3] The Constitution of India, 1949, art. 21

[4] Rojo George v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, 2006 (2) KLT 197