Investigative agencies which face a barrage of criticism while proceeding on a narco-analysis test on any accused have a reason to cheer.
In a significant verdict, Delhi High Court on Tuesday said such tests did not suffer from any “constitutional infirmity” and an accused can be subjected to it even without his/her consent.
“Narco-analysis test does not suffer from any constitutional infirmity as it is a step in aid of investigation… its use is of particular relevance in the context of terrorism-related cases, conspiracy to commit murder and other serious offences where the investigating agencies do not have vital leads,” Justice Manmohan said.
“Having regard to the proliferation of crimes... it is necessary to keep in mind the necessity... of a thorough and proper investigation as against individual rights while ensuring that constitutional rights are not infringed,” the court said upholding a trial court’s decision to allow police to conduct a narco test on an accused.
The police wanted to conduct the test on Shailender Sharma, accused of killing his nephew Chetan. Sharma claimed his nephew died when the car they were travelling in overturned, but Chetan’s father claimed he had been murdered. Police had initially booked Sharma for causing death due negligence but requested a narco test after lie-detector results revealed “deceptive responses”. Justice Manmohan rejected the defence’s argument that the test can be allowed only if the accused gives his consent.
The constitutional validity of narco-analysis, brain-mapping and polygraph tests is under challenge beforethe Supreme Court. But if an accused makes an incriminating statement during the test, it cannot be used against him. “It is clarified that statements made during narco-analysis test cannot be used as sole evidence to convict the accused,” it said.