Monday, June 07, 2010

Perfect Ban for perfect Truth

Supreme Court ruling heralds a new era of investigation in India

Recently, the Supreme Court of India in a landmark judgment, banned the use of narco analysis, polygraph, and brain mapping tests on unwilling accused or suspects — a move that is being applauded by lawyers and activists across the country. A bench comprising of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Ravendran and J.M. Panchal ruled that forcibly conducting these tests was “an unwarranted intrusion into the personal liberty” that grossly violates Article 20(3) of the Constitution that states the right against self incrimination of the accused. Consequently, any guilt confessed by the indicted during these tests cannot be treated as evidence in the trial courts, which can be a new lease of life to many. The most distinguished among them would be the infamous Ramalinga Raju of the Rs. 7,800 crore Satyam scam, and his co-accused V. Srinivasan. The CBI had used narco tests on them, given the intricate nature of the crime and the charges that they are accused of.

Cops like D.G. Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandiyan and Dinesh M.N., who were charged in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case must also be relieved to know that narco analysis test would no longer be conducted on them as previously planned. Interestingly, a Rajasthan court has granted an application by the Anti Terror Squad (ATS) to conduct a narco test on Devender Gupta, the key person accused in the Ajmer blast that had left three dead and 30 injured, just two days before the SC judgment. After the arrest of Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy, the police was eager to use narco tests to discover more about Naxal operations, but was challenged in Delhi High Court after which the conducting of the tests were stopped. Now, of course, after the judgment, police will have to use different techniques to unravel the secrets of the accused .

Even though the verdict upheld human dignity and human rights, it is certainly a major jolt to investigators, as these tests often led to breakthroughs and have fetched major leads for arrests. Despite this, there are serious doubts regarding reliability of these tests, as many experts feel that nacro analysis falls short of being called a scientific method at all! Dr P. Chandra Sekharan, former Director of the Forensic Sciences Department of Tamil Nadu has called it “an unscientific third degree method of investigation”.

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Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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