H. S. Thukral
31 May 2008
Narco Analysis is a diagnostic and psychotherapeutic technique that uses psychotropic drugs, barbiturates, or Thiopnetone Sodium to induce a stupor in which mental elements with strong associated affects come to the surface, where they can be exploited by the therapist. It is attained by depressing the central nervous system, putting the subject into a hypnotic trance resulting in a lack of inhibition. The subject is then interrogated by the investigating agencies in the presence of the doctors. The revelations made during this stage are recorded both in video and audio cassettes. The report prepared by the experts is what is used in the process of collecting evidence. This procedure is conducted in government hospitals after a court order is passed instructing the doctors or hospital authorities to conduct the test. Personal consent of the subject is also required
Whether the results of the Test can be used in Evidence?
The main provision regarding crime investigation and trial in the Indian Constitution is Art. 20(3). It deals with the privilege against self-incrimination which is a fundamental canon of Common law criminal jurisprudence.
Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act says
“When the court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law, or of science, or art, or as to identity of handwriting or finger impression, the opinions upon that point or persons especially skilled in such foreign law, or of science, or art, or as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions are relevant.”
However this section is silent on other aspects of forensic evidence that can be admissible in court in criminal proceedings.
The right against forced self-incrimination, widely known as the Right to Silence also finds place in Criminal Procedure Code. Section .161 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that every person “is bound to answer truthfully all questions, put to him by a police officer, other than questions the answers to which, would have a tendency to expose that person to a criminal charge, penalty or forfeiture”.
In the case of Nandini Sathpathy vs P.L.Dani, it was held that no one can forcibly extract statements from the accused, who has the right to keep silent during the course of interrogation investigation. By the administration of these tests, forcible intrusion into one’s mind is being restored to, thereby nullifying the validity and legitimacy of the Right to Silence.
Experts are divided on whether the results of Narco Analysis are admissible as evidence in courts. Confessions made by a semi-conscious person is not admissible in court. A Narco Analysis Test report has some validity but is not totally admissible in court, which considers the circumstances under which it was obtained and assess its admissibility. The results of the test can be used to support other evidence.
Whether the Test is Reliable
The tests like narco analysis are not considered very reliable. Studies done by various medical associations in the US adhere to the view that truth serums do not induce truthful statements and subjects in such a condition of trance under the truth serum may give false or misleading answers.