ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Over the past couple of years, somewhere between 700 and 800 individuals have been subjected to narcoanalysis in the Forensic Science Laboratory, Bangalore. The obnoxious element of this test lies in the fact that as an investigation or therapeutic procedure in a medical and mental health setting, its use is different from its forensic application. It is used for treating a patient whereas under the criminal investigation, the person undergoing the procedure is not an infirm but a healthy human being and the procedure is undertaken to make him/her incriminate himself/herself. The involvement of doctors in narcoanalysis has been questioned. The World Medical Association, of which the Indian Medical Association is a member, in its 1975 Tokyo Declaration, prohibited doctors from participating or assisting in any kind of torture, and made it obligatory for them to report any case of torture.

Other countries have tried, tested and discarded narcoanalysis, on grounds that it is unscientific, unreliable, unethical, and/or torturous. The Central Intelligence Agency admitted at the 1977 US Senate hearings that “no such magic brew as the popular notion of truth serum exists”. The United Nations definition of torture has four components – that it produces physical/mental suffering and is degrading; it is intentionally inflicted; it is intended for getting information and confessions; and it is inflicted by an official. Narcoanalysis satisfies all four conditions. With the use of narco tests, the investigating agencies are being mesmerised by this technique. They are forgetting that they need to investigate crimes through timetested and traditional methods. Ironically, many courts in India have ruled that the test does not violate the right to privacy. Where then is justice?

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