Selvi & Ors. Vs state of
(Project submitted to Amity University Uttar Pradesh in
partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of
bachelors of law)
Yugant Kuhar (A3211110107)
Eight semester (Sec. B)
AMITY LAW SCHOOL
This is certified that the project entitled “Selvi & Onr. Vs State of Karnataka &
Anr.(2010): An Analysis ” is the original and bonafide work of MR.YUGANT KUHAR,
ENROLLMENT NUMBER A3211110107 It has been carried out under my personal
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I approve its submission in partial fulfillment of internal examination of B.A.LLB
programme of AMITY LAW SCHOOL, AMITY UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH.
AMITY LAW SCHOOL
AMITY UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH
This project deals with the topic “Selvi & Onr. Vs State of Karnataka &
Anr.(2010): An Analysis”. I would like to show my gratitude to our Land Law
subject teacher “MR. ASHWANI PANT” for his constant guidance and support.
I would also thank our Director Sir for providing us with such oppurtunities.
I owe it to the library and librarian of our Amity Law School,Noida for providing
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I am also thankful to all my friends and family for helping me out to make this
THE CASE AT HAND
THE HC’S STAND BEFOE THE JUDGMENT
THE SC’S ANALYSIS
QUES wrt ART 20(3) DUE TO THIS CASE
NARCO ANALYSIS TEST WITHOUT CONSENT OF ACCUSED
8. LANDMARK INITIATIVES
As science has outpaced the development of law or at least the laypersons understanding of it,
there is unavoidable complexity regarding what can be admitted as evidence in court. Narco
analysis is one such scientific development that has become an increasingly, perhaps
alarmingly, common term in India.1
Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India stipulates a
prohibition that no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against
himself. This is a fundamental right of the accused. The provision is divided into several
components to understand its true import.2
The constitution neither has nor merely declared that such laws in force as are inconsistent
with the fundamental rights shall be void, it has also provided against similar future
legislature. Clause (2) of article 13 lays down: The state shall not make any laws which
takesaway or abridges the right conferred by this part and any law made in contravention of
this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.
In any criminal investigation, interrogation of the suspects and accused plays a vital role in
extracting the truth from them. From time, immemorial several methods, most of which were
based on some form of torture have been used by the investigating agencies to elicit
information from the accused and the suspects.3 The article 20(3) of the Indian constitution
a) To a person accused of an offence
b) Against compulsion “to be a witness”;
c) Against himself4
This principle is one of the fundamental canons of the British system of criminal
jurisprudence and which has been adopted by the American system and incorporated in the
Federal Constitution.5 The article 20(3) cannot be invoked unless all the above three
ingredients exist6.The article embodies the principle of protection against compulsion of self
–incrimination. It is firmly established in India, that, unless the constitution itself so provides,
The concept of narcoanalysis in view of constitutional law and human rights by sonakshi verma
accessed on 17 July 2010 available at http://www.rmlnlu.ac.in/content/sonakshi_verma.pdf
Use of modern scientific tests in investigation and evidence: mere desperation or justifiable in public
interest? By abhyudaya agarwal & prithwijit gangopadhyay accessed on 4 th august 2010 available at
Article 20 (3) Of Constitution of India And Narco Analysis by shehnaz ahmed accessed on 6 th august
M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra, AIR 1954 SC 300
5article 20(3) of the Indian constitution with reference to narco-analysis and brain mapping by
vaibhav niti accessed
on 15th august 2010 http://jurisonline.in/2009/09/article-203-of-the-indian-constitution-with-referanceto-narcoanalysisand-brain-mapping/
Balkishen v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1981 SC 379
a person cannot enter into a contract to give up or not to claim a fundamental right.7Under the
canons of common law criminal jurisprudence, a person is presumed to be innocent; the
prosecution must establish his guilt. Secondly, a person accused of an offence need not make
any statement against his will. These principles are embodied in clause 3 of article 20 which
lays down that “No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness
against himself” the privilege to an accused person contains three components, viz, that he
has a right of protection against “compulsion to be a witness”, and against such compulsion
resulting in his giving evidence “against himself”. In other words an accused person is
protected against incriminating himself under compulsion, e.g., making “a statement which
makes the case against the accused person at least probable considered by itself”.
Compulsion in this context would means “duress”8, In NANDINI SATHPATHY CASE 9the
court held that “relevant replies which furnish a real and clear link in the chain of evidence
to bind down the accused with the crime become incriminatory and offend article 20(3) if
elicited by pressure from the mouth of the accused”
Kameshwar v .State of Bihar, AIR1962 SC 1166
State of Bombay v. Kathi kalu oghad, AIR 1961 SC 1808
AIR 1978 SC 1025
The Case At Hand
The Indian judiciary has finally recognized and condemned the abusive nature of
narcoanalysis, brain-mapping, and polygraph tests10specifically, the Supreme Court’s recent
decision in Smt. Selvi & Ors. v. State of Karnataka prohibited all involuntary administration
of such tests, holding them to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”11 The Supreme
Court’s decision is in line with Constitutional requirements and international human rights
law. In sharp contrast, the Supreme Court raised serious concerns about the validity,
reliability, and indeed usefulness of narcoanalysis, brain mapping, and polygraph tests. The
Court emphasized how each of the tests could lead to the discovery of false and even
misleading information.12 In questioning the scientific reliability of narcoanalysis, the Court
for example stated: “Some studies have shown that most of the drug-induced revelations are
not related to the relevant facts and they are more likely to be in the nature of
inconsequential information about the subjects’ personal lives.”13
The Court also noted that some subjects of narcoanalysis “can become extremely suggestible
to questioning” while others might “concoct fanciful stories.”14 Similarly, for different forms
of brain mapping, which rely on a subject’s familiarity with certain stimuli to assess potential
involvement in crime, the tests can falsely implicate a subject because of the subject’s prior
exposure to test stimuli such as through media reports, revelation of facts to the subject by
investigators, or the subject’s relation to the crime as a bystander witness.15 For polygraph
tests, the Court noted that distorted physiological responses could result from “nervousness,
anxiety, fear, confusion or other emotions… the physical conditions in the polygraph
examination room… the mental state of the subject…[or] ‘memory-hardening’, i.e. a process
by which the subject has created and consolidated false memories about a particular
Smt. selvi & ors. v. state of Karnataka, criminal appeal no. 1267 of 2004, Supreme Court of India,
Supra note 1, at 16, 47, 73.
Ibid. at 47.
Ibid. at 47.
Ibid. at 74.
Ibid. at 16.
The High Court’s Stand before the Judgment
During the past decade, High Courts across the country continued to uphold the use of such
tests17. The Supreme Court’s analysis aptly demonstrates how those decisions strained legal
reasoning and logic by relying on the purported scientific nature of narcoanalysis tests despite
the fact that scientific evidence had long discredited the tests purported scientific validity.
The Supreme Court’s decision disagreed with the reasoning of the various High Court
judgments in three main areas:
a) The reliability/unreliability of the tests;
b) Self-incrimination protections;
c) Substantive due process rights.
The Supreme Court’s decision is in line with Constitutional requirements and international
human rights law. However, the Court also ruled that information “subsequently discovered”
from the result of a “voluntary” test can be admitted as evidence.
While the High Court’s addressing this issue gave scant attention to potential rights violations
under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court found that narco analysis violated
individuals’ right to privacy and amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Article
21 protects the right to life and personal liberty18, which has been broadly interpreted to
include various substantive due process protections, including the right to privacy19 and the
right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment20.
The majority of High Courts did not even address the issue of the right to privacy, and those
that did only made blanket assertions that the right is not absolute or that narcoanalysis and
other tests did not infringe on the right21.
Similarly, the High Courts did not address the issue of whether narcoanalysis amounted to
torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, despite the fact that at least some of the
petitioners raised this issue.22
Again, the Supreme Court departed sharply from the stance of the lower courts. First, the
Court found all three tests to amount to an invasion of privacy by intruding into a “subject’s
mental privacy,” denying an opportunity to choose whether to speak or remain silent, and
physically restraining a subject to the location of the tests.23
In State of Andhra Pradesh v. smt. inapuri Padma and ors., case no. 459 of 2008; Delhi (sh.
shailender sharma v.state, crl. wp no. 532 of 2008); Gujarat (santokben sharmanbhai jadeja v. state
of Gujarat, special criminal application no. 1286 of 2007)
The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 21
Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1963 SC 898
DK Basu v State of West Bengal, (1997) 1 SCC 416, at 22.
Rojo George v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crl WP No 6245 of 2006, at 12; also, supra note4.
Dinesh Dalmia v. State, Crl. R.C. No. 259 of 2006 and Crl. M.P. Nos. 1518 and 1519 of 2006, at 8
Supra note 1, at 169,192.
Second, the Court declared all three tests to amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
because of the mental harm likely suffered and the potential physical abuse by police or
prison officials that could result from the responses given. As the Court stated, “forcible
intrusion into a person’s mental processes is… an affront to human dignity and liberty, often
with grave and long-lasting consequences.”24
Ibid, at 205.
The Supreme Court’s Analysis
The Supreme Court overruled various High Courts in declaring that the administration of
Narcoanalysis, brain mapping, and polygraph tests violated subjects’ rights against selfincrimination in contravention of Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution.25 According to that
article, “No person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against
The High Courts had used various arguments to uphold the constitutionality of
narcoanalysis and other tests under Article 20(3). For example, the Karnataka High Court
equated the compulsion requirement of Article 20(3) with ‘duress’ involving serious physical
harm or threat, and found that the mild pain from the administration of an injection necessary
to induce the narcoanalysis test did not reach the requisite level of hurt to constitute
Using a similarly narrow view of ‘compulsion’, the Madras High Court found
that because compulsion generally means using physical or other so-called third degree
methods of interrogation, even though a subject may be forced to undergo narcoanalysis in
the first place, the statements made during the resulting tests themselves are voluntary.28
Further, the High Courts of Karnataka, Bombay and Delhi found that the administration
Of narcoanalysis itself could not violate Article 20(3) because statements could not be known
to be incriminating until after the administration of the test.
According to these judgments, only if an incriminating statement was in fact made and then
admitted as evidence could a potential violation occur.29 The Delhi High Court went further
to state that statements made during narcoanalysis could be admitted as evidence in court as
The Supreme Court rejected these arguments. First, the Court found that forcing a subject to
undergo narcoanalysis, brain-mapping, or polygraph tests itself amounted to the requisite
compulsion, regardless of the lack of physical harm done to administer the test or the nature
of the answers given during the tests.31
In the case, Smt. Selvi & Ors. v. State of Karnataka, at 165, 223.
The Constitution of India, 1950, Art.20 (3).
Supra note 11, at 10.
Dinesh Dalmia v. State, Crl. R.C. No. 259 of 2006 and Crl. M.P. Nos. 1518 and 1519 of 2006.
Supra note 4, at Para. 5; Ram Chandra Ram Reddy v. Maharashtra, Criminal Writ Petition No. 1924
of 2003,decided on 5 March 2004; Sh. Shailender Sharma v. State, Crl. WP No. 532 of 2008
Sh. Shailender Sharma v. State, Crl. WP No. 532 of 2008, at 37
Supra note 1, at 158, 165.
Secondly, the Court found that since the answers given during the administration of the test
are not consciously and voluntarily given, and since an individual does not have the ability to
decide whether or not to answer a given question, the results from all three tests amount to
the requisite compelled testimony to violate Article 20(3).32
Even if a person voluntarily agreed to undergo any of the tests at the outset, the responses
given during the tests are not voluntary.33
Overall, the Supreme Court rightly rejected the High Courts’ reliance on the supposed utility,
reliability and validity of narcoanalysis and other tests as methods of criminal investigation.
This de-mystification of the techniques allowed the Court to carry out a thorough analysis of
the various constitutional rights at stake, namely rights against self-incrimination and
substantive due process rights, a study that the High Courts were unable or unwilling to do.
Ibid. at 161,165
Ibid. at 169, 192
Has This Case Still Left Many Questions Unanswered With Respect
To Article 20(3)?
The Supreme Court decision in Smt. Selvi & Ors. v. State of Karnataka is a welcome
development. Serious concerns still remain, however, as to whether the spirit of the judgment
will be respected by law enforcement authorities. The Supreme Court left open the possibility
for abuse of such tests when it provided a narrow exception, almost as an afterthought,
namely that information indirectly garnered from a “voluntary administered test” – i.e.
discovered with the help of information obtained from such a test – can be admitted as
evidence.34 While this exception is narrow in the sense that it can apply only when a fully
informed individual gives truly voluntary consent to undergo any of the tests, the granting of
the exception does not harmonize with the Court’s clearly stated belief that information
obtained even during a voluntarily administered test is not voluntarily given. The exception,
based on the assumption that voluntarily taken tests will be truly “voluntary”, is problematic.
The power of the police to coerce suspects and witnesses into “voluntarily” doing or not
doing certain things is well-known. It is highly probable that the same techniques will be
applied to get suspects or witnesses to “agree” to narcoanalysis and other tests, resulting in a
mockery of the essence of the Supreme Court’s judgment. It is widely agreed, for example,
that the D.K. Basu35 guidelines prescribing the treatment of persons in custody are
implemented mainly in the breach; they merely adorn signboards inside police stations, a
farcical, one-point ‘compliance’ with Supreme Court’s comprehensive list of directives.
This limited exception for admitting into evidence “fruits of the poisonous tree”36 casts a
shadow on the Court’s otherwise progressive judgment. A fresh look at the exception is
therefore in order.
Super note 1, at 205.
DK Basu v State of West Bengal, (1997) 1 SCC 416, at 22.
Supra note 1, at 118. The Court was referring to confessions made before police officers, which are
not ordinarily admissible as evidence
5 MAY 2010
Narco analysis test without consent of accused illegal: Supreme
In a decision pronounced today authored by the Chief Justice of India himself, the Supreme
Court has declared that narco-analysis tests cannot be conducted on an accused without his
consent. Holding that right to personal liberty, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution
of India and the protection against self-incrimination available to all persons in India in terms
of Article 20(3) were all pervasive, this decision in Selvi v. State of Karnataka can as well be
hailed to be one of trend-setting landmark judgments of India. In fact the Supreme Court
extended this reasoning and bar to even poly-graphic tests (lie-detector tests), Brain Electrical
Activation Profile (BEAP) test, and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI).
The judgment, which runs over 250 pages, the conundrum leading to the present dispute was
noted by the Court in the following terms; "Objections have been raised in respect of
instances where individuals who are the accused, suspects or witnesses in an investigation
have been subjected to these tests without their consent. Such measures have been defended
by citing the importance of extracting information which could help the investigating
agencies to prevent criminal activities in the future as well as in circumstances where it is
difficult to gather evidence through ordinary means. ... It has also been urged that
administering these techniques does not cause any bodily harm and that the extracted
information will be used only for strengthening investigation efforts and will not be admitted
as evidence during the trial stage. The assertion is that improvements in fact-finding during
the investigation stage will consequently help to increase the rate of prosecution as well as
the rate of acquittal. Yet another line of reasoning is that these scientific techniques are a
softer alternative to the regrettable and allegedly widespread use of ‘third degree methods’ by
In this background, having examined the various competing considerations and the decisions
of courts from other jurisdictions, the Supreme Court concluded as under;
221. In our considered opinion, the compulsory administration of the impugned techniques
violates the ‘right against self-incrimination’. This is because the underlying rationale of the
said right is to ensure the reliability as well as voluntariness of statements that are admitted as
evidence. This Court has recognised that the protective scope of Article 20(3) extends to the
investigative stage in criminal cases and when read with Section 161(2) of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 it protects accused persons, suspects as well as witnesses who are
examined during an investigation. The test results cannot be admitted in evidence if they have
been obtained through the use of compulsion. Article 20(3) protects an individual’s choice
between speaking and remaining silent, irrespective of whether the subsequent testimony
proves to be inculpatory or exculpatory. Article 20(3) aims to prevent the forcible
‘conveyance of personal knowledge that is relevant to the facts in issue’. The results obtained
from each of the impugned tests bear a ‘testimonial’ character and they cannot be categorised
as material evidence.
222. We are also of the view that forcing an individual to undergo any of the impugned
techniques violates the standard of ‘substantive due process’ which is required for restraining
personal liberty. Such a violation will occur irrespective of whether these techniques are
forcibly administered during the course of an investigation or for any other purpose since the
test results could also expose a person to adverse consequences of a non-penal nature. The
impugned techniques cannot be read into the statutory provisions which enable medical
examination during investigation in criminal cases, i.e. the Explanation to Sections 53, 53-A
and 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Such an expansive interpretation is not
feasible in light of the rule of ‘ejusdem generis’ and the considerations which govern the
interpretation of statutes in relation to scientific advancements. We have also elaborated how
the compulsory administration of any of these techniques is an unjustified intrusion into the
mental privacy of an individual. It would also amount to ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment’ with regard to the language of evolving international human rights norms.
Furthermore, placing reliance on the results gathered from these techniques comes into
conflict with the ‘right to fair trial’. Invocations of a compelling public interest cannot justify
the dilution of constitutional rights such as the ‘right against self-incrimination’.
223. In light of these conclusions, we hold that no individual should be forcibly subjected to
any of the techniques in question, whether in the context of investigation in criminal cases or
otherwise. Doing so would amount to an unwarranted intrusion into personal liberty.
However, we do leave room for the voluntary administration of the impugned techniques in
the context of criminal justice, provided that certain safeguards are in place. Even when the
subject has given consent to undergo any of these tests, the test results by themselves cannot
be admitted as evidence because the subject does not exercise conscious control over the
responses during the administration of the test. However, any information or material that is
subsequently discovered with the help of voluntary administered test results can be admitted,
in accordance with Section 27 of the Evidence Act, 1872.
Some other pertinent observations made by the Bench, which are worth noting, as as under;
91. As mentioned earlier, ‘the right against self-incrimination’ is now viewed as an essential
safeguard in criminal procedure. Its underlying rationale broadly corresponds with two
objectives – firstly, that of ensuring reliability of the statements made by an accused, and
secondly, ensuring that such statements are made voluntarily. It is quite possible that a person
suspected or accused of a crime may have been compelled to testify through methods
involving coercion, threats or inducements during the investigative stage. When a person is
compelled to testify on his/her own behalf, there is a higher likelihood of such testimony
being false. False testimony is undesirable since it impedes the integrity of the trial and the
subsequent verdict. Therefore, the purpose of the ‘rule against involuntary confessions’ is to
ensure that the testimony considered during trial is reliable. The premise is that involuntary
statements are more likely to mislead the judge and the prosecutor, thereby resulting in a
miscarriage of justice. Even during the investigative stage, false statements are likely to cause
delays and obstructions in the investigation efforts.
123. The distinction between inculpatory and exculpatory evidence gathered during
investigation is relevant for deciding what will be admissible as evidence during the trial
stage. The exclusionary rule in evidence law mandates that if inculpatory evidence has been
gathered through improper methods (involving coercion, threat or inducement among others)
then the same should be excluded from the trial, while there is no such prohibition on the
consideration of exculpatory evidence. However, this distinction between the treatment of
inculpatory and exculpatory evidence is made retrospectively at the trial stage and it cannot
be extended back to the stage of investigation. If we were to permit the admission of
involuntary statement on the ground that at the time of asking a question it is not known
whether the answer will be inculpatory or exculpatory, the ‘right against self-incrimination’
will be rendered meaningless. The law confers on ‘any person’ who is examined during an
investigation, an effective choice between speaking and remaining silent. This implies that it
is for the person being examined to decide whether the answer to a particular question will
eventually prove to be inculpatory or exculpatory. Furthermore, it is also likely that the
information or materials collected at an earlier stage of investigation can prove to be
inculpatory in due course.
169. There are several ways in which the involuntary administration of either of the
impugned tests could be viewed as a restraint on ‘personal liberty’. The most obvious
indicator of restraint is the use of physical force to ensure that an unwilling person is confined
to the premises where the tests are to be conducted. Furthermore, the drug-induced
revelations or the substantive inferences drawn from the measurement of the subject’s
physiological responses can be described as an intrusion into the subject’s mental privacy. It
is also quite conceivable that a person could make an incriminating statement on being
threatened with the prospective administration of any of these techniques. Conversely, a
person who has been forcibly subjected to these techniques could be confronted with the
results in a subsequent interrogation, thereby eliciting incriminating statements.
170. We must also account for circumstances where a person who undergoes the said tests is
subsequently exposed to harmful consequences, though not of a penal nature. We have
already expressed our concern with situations where the contents of the test results could
prompt investigators to engage in custodial abuse, surveillance or undue harassment. We
have also been apprised of some instances where the investigation agencies have leaked the
video-recordings of narcoanalysis interviews to media organisations. This is an especially
worrisome practice since the public distribution of these recordings can expose the subject to
undue social stigma and specific risks. It may even encourage acts of vigilantism in addition
to a ‘trial by media’.
171. We must remember that the law does provide for some restrictions on ‘personal liberty’
in the routine exercise of police powers. For instance, the CrPC incorporates an elaborate
scheme prescribing the powers of arrest, detention, interrogation, search and seizure. A
fundamental premise of the criminal justice system is that the police and the judiciary are
empowered to exercise a reasonable degree of coercive powers. Hence, the provision that
enables Courts to order a person who is under arrest to undergo a medical examination also
provides for the use of ‘force as is reasonably necessary’ for this purpose. It is evident that
the notion of ‘personal liberty’ does not grant rights in the absolute sense and the validity of
restrictions placed on the same needs to be evaluated on the basis of criterion such as
‘fairness, non-arbitrariness, and reasonableness’.
192. So far, the judicial understanding of privacy in our country has mostly stressed on the
protection of the body and physical spaces from intrusive actions by the State. While the
scheme of criminal procedure as well as evidence law mandates interference with physical
privacy through statutory provisions that enable arrest, detention, search and seizure among
others, the same cannot be the basis for compelling a person ‘to impart personal knowledge
about a relevant fact’. The theory of interrelationship of rights mandates that the right against
self-incrimination should also be read as a component of ‘personal liberty’ under Article 21.
Hence, our understanding of the ‘right to privacy’ should account for its intersection with
Article 20(3). Furthermore, the ‘rule against involuntary confessions’ as embodied in
Sections 24, 25, 26 and 27 of the Evidence Act, 1872 seeks to serve both the objectives of
reliability as well as voluntariness of testimony given in a custodial setting. A conjunctive
reading of Articles 20(3) and 21 of the Constitution along with the principles of evidence law
leads us to a clear answer. We must recognise the importance of personal autonomy in
aspects such as the choice between remaining silent and speaking. An individual’s decision to
make a statement is the product of a private choice and there should be no scope for any other
individual to interfere with such autonomy, especially in circumstances where the person
faces exposure to criminal charges or penalties.37
Selvi v. State of Karnataka
(2010 (7) SCC 263)
In a major blow to investigating agencies, the Supreme Court held the use of narco analysis,
brain-mapping and polygraph tests on accused, suspects and witnesses without their consent
as unconstitutional and violation of the ‘right to privacy'.
A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and
J.M. Panchal, in a 251-page judgment, said:
“We hold that no individual should be forcibly subjected to any of the techniques in question,
whether in the context of investigation in criminal cases or otherwise. Doing so would
amount to an unwarranted intrusion into personal liberty.”
The judges said: “The compulsory administration of the impugned techniques violates the
right against self-incrimination. The test results cannot be admitted in evidence if they have
been obtained through the use of compulsion. Article 20 (3) of the Constitution [No person
accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself] protects an
individual's choice between speaking and remaining silent, irrespective of whether the
subsequent testimony proves to be inculpatory or exculpatory.”
The Bench said: “Article 20 (3) aims to prevent the forcible conveyance of personal
knowledge that is relevant to the facts in issue. The results obtained from each of the
impugned tests bear a testimonial character and they cannot be categorised as material
The CJI said: “It is our considered opinion that subjecting a person to the impugned
techniques in an involuntary manner violates the prescribed boundaries of privacy.”
The Bench held that if these techniques were used compulsorily if would violate Article 20
The Bench made it clear that even when the subject had given consent to undergo any of
these tests, the test results by themselves could not be admitted as evidence because “the
subject does not exercise conscious control over the responses during the administration of
the test. However, any information or material that is subsequently discovered with the help
of voluntary administered test results can be admitted, in accordance with Section 27 of the
To conclude, the use of narco-analysis as an investigative tool or as evidence is
violative of the right to life, liberty and the right against self-incrimination.
Viewed from the point of view of criminal trials, the unreliability of the
procedure and the impact of the drugs on the psyche may result in miscarriage
of justice and conviction of innocent persons. The logic of ‘minimal bodily
harm’ being permissible for extraction of information offered for upholding
narco-analysis has grave implications as to the use of coercive third-degree
methods specially in the context of growing curbs on rights in the name of
The democratic rights movement must take up a sustained campaign against the
use of invasive methods like narcoanalysis and brain mapping.
1.Indian Evidence Act,1872
2.The Constitution of India,1950
5.Indian Evidence Act by M.P.Tandon
6.The law of Evidence by Ratanlal and Dhirajlal