Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved verdict on a batch of petitions questioning the methods adopted by police in conducting narco analysis, brain mapping and lie detector tests on the accused against their willingness and seeking framing of guidelines.

A three-Judge Bench, comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal, reserved judgment at the conclusion of arguments by counsel for the petitioners, the Centre, the CBI and the amicus curiae, assisting the court.

The petitioners argued that courts could not direct the prosecution to hold narco analysis, brain mapping and lie detector tests on the accused against their willingness as it would be violative of Article 20 (3) of the Constitution (no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself).

Amicus curiae and senior counsel Dushyant Dave said: “There does not appear to be any legal system in the world, which has either allowed or considered admissible the evidence collected with the help of any one or all of the tests.”

He said, “While on the one hand, constitutional embargo is omni-present, the existing statutes, including the Cr.P.C. and the Indian Evidence Act, do not expressly authorise collection of evidence through process, during which the accused may be compelled to be a witness against himself. Clearly there is no backing in law for the police to collect such evidence through these tests nor has there been any power in the courts to authorise the police to do so.”

Mr. Dave said, “Such tests can only be done by legislation, which may authorise the same as under TADA. To allow adoption of any of the three tests in investigations involving day to day crimes would negate the very values for which the society stands and the Constitution affirms.”

Earlier senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for the CBI, submitted that none of the three tests “are unconstitutional or illegal. They are modern and scientific techniques, which are authorised by law and are necessary to be carried out in the investigation of an offence of such a nature and under such circumstances where there are reasonable grounds for believing that such tests will provide evidence as to the commission of an offence.”

He said: “Results obtained from examination of the accused would not offend the prohibition against testimonial compulsion under Article 20 (3) of the Constitution.

“Further, these tests, including narco analysis, are valuable for not only punishing the guilty but exonerating an accused person. They avoid the temptation to sue third degree methods like torture to obtain information. Such tests cannot be construed as invasion of privacy of the accused.”