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  • The Hon’ble Kerala HC has held in the case of Mahesh Lal N.Y. vs. State Of Kerala that the consent of the accused is not required for the purpose of obtaining their voice sample for comparison, as the same has already been established and is not considered to be a violation of the doctrine of self incrimination as envisaged in Article 20(3) of the Constitution.
  • In the instant case, the complainant’s brother-in-law constructed a new building and was waiting for the grant of completion certificate from the Panchayat. The first accused in the present case demanded money from the complainant to pay the petitioner herein (who is the second accused) and others in the Panchayat for the issuance of the certificate.
  • In February 2021, the first accused accepted Rs. 25,000 from the complainant. By doing this, he committed an offence under section 7A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with 120B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy). The second accused also committed an offence under section 7a of the prevention of Corruption Act read with section 120B of the IPC.
  • During the course of the investigation, a mobile phone was seized which contained a conversation between the petitioner and the complainant regarding the demand of a bribe. Thus, it was stated that a voice analysis of both the petitioner and the complainant was needed to prove the demand of bribe that was made.
  • While the investigation was ongoing, a notice was issued to the petitioner by the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance) directing him to appear at a studio for recording voice samples. This order was challenged by the petitioner in the HC under section 482 CrPC, seeking to get the order and any proceeding in pursuance of the same to be quashed.
  • The counsel for the petitioner argued that to impel an accused to give a voice sample is violative of Article 20(3). Referring to the decision of the Hon’ble SC in Ritesh Sinha vs. State of UP in which the SC has clearly stated that a direction given to the accused to give a voice sample is not violative of Article 20(3), the HC noted that the present question does not stand.
  • It was also contended by the petitioners that the petitioner was not granted an opportunity of being heard while the impugned order was passed, thus violating the principle of audi alteram partem. To this, the Court responded that the question of hearing the petitioner in the instant case would only arise if his consent was required before taking the voice sample. As this was clearly not the case because the consent was immaterial, the question of hearing the petitioner does not arise.
  • The Court also observed that the investigating agencies have to adopt scientific methodology to solve crimes. The Courts should not be used as a means to prevent that from happening.
  • The present petition was, thus, dismissed.
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