22nd September 2021

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What are polygraph tests and narco analysis?

A spokesman for the Uttar Pradesh government said on Friday (October 2) that polygraph tests and narco-analysis would be carried out as part of the investigation into the alleged theft and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman by four caste men from Thakur to Hathras last month. The spokesman said that the tests would be carried out on “all the people on the accused and victim side”, in addition to “the police involved in the case and others related to the case.

What are polygraph tests and narcoanalysis?

A polygraph test is based on the assumption that the physiological responses triggered when a person lies are different than they would be otherwise.

  • Instruments such as cardiovascular bracelets or sensitive electrodes, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, change in sweat gland activity, blood flow, etc. are attached to the person measured as it is they ask you questions.
  • A numerical value is assigned to each answer to determine whether the person is telling the truth, cheating or not sure.
  • A test like this was reportedly first conducted in the 19th century by Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who used a machine to measure changes in suspects’ blood pressure during questioning.
  • Later, the American psychologist William Marstron created similar devices in 1914 and the Californian policeman John Larson in 1921.
  • Narcoanalysis, on the other hand, involves the injection of a drug, sodium pentothal, which induces a hypnotic or sedative state in which the subject’s imagination is neutralized and it is supposed to divulge truthful information.
  • The drug, called “truth serum” in this context, was used in larger doses as an anesthetic during surgery and was said to have been used during World War II for intelligence operations.
  • More recently, investigating agencies have attempted to use this evidence in the investigation and are sometimes seen as a “softer alternative” to torture or “third degree” to extract the truth from suspects.
  • However, neither method has been scientifically proven to have a 100% success rate and it remains controversial in the medical field as well.

Can Indian investigators subject the accused to these tests?

In “Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr ” (2010), a Supreme Court bench made up of the Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan and Justices RV Raveendran and JM Panchal, ruled that Evidence from the Lie detectors should not be performed “except with the consent of the accused.”

  • Those who volunteer must have access to a lawyer, and the police and the lawyer explain the physical, emotional and legal implications of the test, the bank said.
  • He said that the “Guidelines for the administration of polygraph tests to an accused” issued by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000 must be strictly followed. The subject’s consent must be registered with a judicial magistrate, the court said.
  • Test results cannot be considered a “confession” because people with drug addiction cannot choose to answer the questions posed to them.
  • However, any information or material that is later discovered through voluntary testing can be admitted as evidence, the court said.
  • Therefore, if a defendant reveals the location of a murder weapon during testing and the police later find the weapon there, the defendant’s statement will not be evidence, but the weapon will.
  • The Court took into consideration international human rights standards, the right to a fair trial, and the right not to incriminate oneself in accordance with Article 20 (3) of the Constitution.
  • “We have to recognize that forced interference with a person’s mental processes is also an affront to human dignity and freedom, often with serious and long-lasting consequences,” the court said, noting that the state’s claim that the use of these scientific techniques.
  • The reduction of “third degree” methods “is a circular reasoning that seeks to replace one form of inappropriate behavior with another.”
  • Are investigators allowed to subject persons other than the accused (witnesses, victims, their families) to a criminal investigation based on this evidence?
  • Are investigators allowed to subject other people besides the accused to a criminal investigation (witnesses, victims, their families) using this evidence?
  • The Supreme Court said in its order that “no one should be subjected to force by any of the techniques in question, whether as part of a criminal investigation or otherwise”, and extended the same rule to others, which cannot be done. the test if they give their consent.
  • They said that forcing a person to undergo these tests amounted to “an unwarranted interference with personal freedom” but left the possibility of “voluntary administration” of these techniques if people consented.
  • The court considered the scope of section 20 (3), the right against self-incrimination, which states that no defendant can be compelled to testify against himself.
  • They said that while this required a person to be formally named an accused, other provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code also extend this protection to witnesses.
  • With regard to victims, especially of sex crimes, the judiciary has stated that regardless of the need to expedite the investigation in such cases, a victim of a crime cannot be forced to submit to such cases tests as this would constitute “an unwarranted invasion of privacy and could lead to further stigmatization of the victim. “

In which criminal cases have these tests been used in recent years?

In most cases, investigative agencies seek permission to conduct such tests on accused or suspects, but rarely on victims or witnesses.

  • Legal experts say investigative agencies can present to a court that evidence is needed to aid them in their investigation, but consent or refusal to be interviewed by an individual does not reflect innocence or guilt.
  • More recently, the IWC attempted to perform these tests on the driver and aid of the truck that struck rape victim Unnao in Uttar Pradesh in July of last year. He also tried to test a defendant in the case of alleged fraud at the National Bank of the Punjab, but the court rejected the statement after the defendant did not give his consent.
  • In May 2017, INX Media founder Indrani Mukerjea, facing a trial for the alleged murder of his daughter Sheena Bora in 2012, offered to take the lie detector test, which was rejected by the CBI, claiming have sufficient evidence against you.
  • The polygraph test was also performed on Dr Rajesh Talwar and Dr Nupur Talwar, accused of killing their daughter Aayushi and aiding Hemraj in Noida. A video of his trainer Krishna’s narco scan test was leaked.
  • The Supreme Court, in its ruling, warned against such leaks, calling them a “worrying practice”.
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