Legal expert questions efficacy of narco-analysis tests

However, recoveries resulting from interviews taken under the test are admissible as corroborative evidence.

Published: 07th November 2018 09:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2018 09:36 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: A noted legal expert has a penned a paper in the maiden journal of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), expressing doubts on the efficacy of the narco-analysis tests conducted on crime suspects.

Making a strong case against the narco-analysis tests, assistant professor at Jamnalal Bajaj School of Legal Studies, Astha Poonia, has said that the test amounts to torture as it is often carried out “illegally” without consent.  Legally, statements made while undergoing narco analysis are not admissible as evidence in courts.

However, recoveries resulting from interviews taken under the test are admissible as corroborative evidence. Under the Home ministry, the NCRB maintains data base of country’s crimes and this is the first time that the bureau has come out with a journal highlighting several issues in the criminal justice system.
“An argument that is deployed in support of Narco analysis is that the procedure is video graphed and audio taped, so that no coercion is used. But if such tapes are made public before the judgment, are we not psychologically harassing and punishing the accused before the court has actually convicted them? Is this also not torture,” the paper reads.

Poonia has also referred to various Supreme Court judgments, which said that narco, polygraph or brainmapping tests cannot be conducted on any person, whether an accused or a suspect, without their consent. The paper also states that narco-analyis tests are being carried out by investigative agencies without following NHRC guidelines in this regard.  

“The absence of a national policy in criminal justice administration in this regard, is felt to be a serious drawback. It appears that the narco analysis beast has acquired a life of its own. It is increasingly knocking at the doors of courts and finding ready acceptance as a device to get at the truth during police investigations, though its scientific basis and values are under  challenge,” the paper says.

Uncomfortable questions

Statements made while undergoing such tests are not admissible as evidence
The expert said NHRC guidelines are flouted while conducting such tests

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