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Project on

Scientific Evidence in Criminal Trials- Narco-analysis

Submitted to- Miss. Vinita Tripathi

(Faculty: Law of Evidence)

Submitted by- Ishu Deshmukh

Section : B

Roll No.-81

Semester VII

HIDAYATULLAH NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY RAIPUR,


CHHATTISGARH

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1

 DECLARATION ……………………………………………………………………….. 3
 ACKNOWLEDGMENT................................................................................................... 4
 INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………....5
 OBJECTIVE …………………………………………………………………….....……...6
 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY....................................................................................... 6
 CHAPTERISATION………………………………………………………………………6

CHAPTER 2

 SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL TRIALS ……………...…..…..................... 7

CHAPTER 3

 NARCO-ANALYSIS …………………………..………..…….……………………..……10

CHAPTER 4

 CASE ANALYSIS…………………………………………………………………………13
 CRITICISM OF NARCO-ANALYSIS TEST ………….………………………………16

CHAPTER 5

 CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………….….……..17
 BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………................................................................18

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CHAPTER 1

DECLARATION

I hereby declare that the project work entitled Scientific Evidence in Criminal Trials-
Narcoanalysis submitted to HNLU, Raipur, is record of an original work done by me under the
guidance of Miss.Vinita Tripathi, Faculty Member, HNLU, Raipur.

Ishu Deshmukh
Roll. No. 81
Semester – VII

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my teacher, Miss. Vinita Tripathi for her
support. I would like to thank the faculty for giving me the chance for researching on such an
intriguing and progressive issue as this.

Thank you, jurists and masters of law for the expression of your ideas, thoughts and immense
amount of knowledge in the form of the various books, articles and opinions. Without all of this,
it would have been a Herculean task for me to complete this project.

My gratitude also goes out to the staff and administration of HNLU for the infrastructure in the
form of our library and IT Lab that was a source of great help for the completion of this project.

Ishu Deshmukh

Semester VII

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INTRODUCTION

The project work aims at explaining the links between science and law. The use of scientific
evidence in criminal trials and the admissibility of this evidence in court is one of the major areas
covered by this project.

The advent of using science as a means to investigate criminal cases is a recent one. Earlier, the
courts relied on the non-scientific evidence such as statements by eye-witnesses. Such evidence
cannot be relied upon since its validity cannot be tested. However, with the use of science and
technology such pieces of evidence can be used in court. Usually, tests such as narcoanalysis,
brain mapping and lie detectors are used to confirm the truth of these pieces of evidence. Judicial
discomfort in handling scientific evidence has increased in recent years with the emergence of
scientific testimony offered by experts.

Advance in technology have significantly increase the capabilities of forensic science


laboratories. “Cold cases,” those which have been classified as dead or unsolved, have had life
breathed into them because of these advances in DNA technology.

The narcoanalysis test is one of the scientific tests used to nail the culprit. This test has recently
begun to be recognized as a crucial test to identify the accused when all other modes of
investigation prove to be not useful. The result of the tests are not made admissible in the court,
it merely aids the investigation procedure.

However due to the test’s subjective nature, the foremost criticism levelled against conducting
the test is the conclusiveness of the test. According to medical and legal experts, “Individuals
who have conscious and unconscious reason for doing so are inclined to confess and yield to
interrogation under drug influence; some are able to withhold the information. But there is a need
to accept the fact that where most of the crimes are taking shape in the mind of a person, narco-
analysis is the apt mechanism.

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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The research methodology used in the project is doctrinal in nature the references used are in the
form of secondary source. The Objective of this project is to study the concept of custom as a
source of law. This Doctrinal research is descriptive and analytical in nature. Secondary and
Electronic resources have been largely used to gather information and data about the topic.
Books and other reference as guided by Faculty of jurisprudence have been primarily helpful in
giving this project a firm structure. Websites, dictionaries and articles have also been referred.
Footnotes have been provided wherever needed, either to acknowledge the source or to point to a
particular provision of law. Uniform citation has been followed.

OBJECTIVE

1. To study about scientific evidence in Criminal Trials.


2. To have a detailed study of Narco-Analysis and its evidential value with reference to
case laws.
3. To study the criticism of Narco-Analysis.

CHAPTERISATION

First Chapter of this project deals with Introduction and Research Methodology which briefly
talks about link between science and law.
Second Chapter of this Project deals with Scientific Evidence in Criminal Trials
Third Chapter of this Project deals with Narco Analysis whereas Fourth Chapter deals with
Criticism of Narco Analysis and lastly last Chapter deals with Conclusion

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CHAPTER 2
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL TRIALS

During criminal trials, evidence rules restrict both the content of evidence presented and the
manner that evidence can be presented during a trial. Evidence rules not only ensure the smooth
running of a criminal trial, but also, protect a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Scientific evidence, or forensic evidence, is information derived through the “scientific method”.
Commonly, scientific evidence, such as DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, and other items, is
regularly entered during a criminal trial by both sides. Contrary to some beliefs, polygraph
evidence is not typically deemed reliable enough to be admitted to a criminal trial, nor is most
statements made under hypnosis or other forms of altered consciousness.

Typically, turning to the chain of custody rules may immediately put into question the validity of
an admitted piece of evidence. This piece of evidence may have undergone scientific testing that
returned a given result, which can be ruled inadmissible if the chain of evidence was not properly
followed. Additionally, disputes over admitting evidence are typically heard during a minitrial,
which allows the jury to leave, while a decision to admit or suppress a given piece of evidence is
established. This minitrial event prevents jurors from being influenced by evidence, which may
be inadmissible.1

Scientific evidences are crucial to the fact finder in order to arrive at the logical consequence in
deciding large number of issues brought before him/her. In the present era, they have almost
become indispensable to them. Whether scientific evidence is worth believing or not is a key
issue which can be encountered by a judge/jury when ever scientific evidence is put before him.2

Till recently, the courts had to rely on the non-scientific evidences only because of the non-
availability of proper technology. But the problems associated with such evidences are-

 The eyewitness observes the occurrence for a very short period.


 He may intermingle the acts of various individuals in the occurrence.

1
Fred E. Inbau, ‘The Admissibility Of Scientific Evidence In Criminal Cases’
2
Dr. Ashok Dhamija, ‘Making scientific evidence admissible’ 2006

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 He may be biased in favour of the victim or the culprit.
 He may be mentally imbalanced leading to exaggeration of the event.
 The eyewitness may forget, rationalise or get confused as his statement is recorded after a
considerable lapse of time.
 He may be frightened by the court room environment.
 He may be over-awed by the opposing counsel.
 He may subconsciously take into account the opinion of others with whom he has
discussed the happenings of the case or who have aired their opinion in the media.
 He may be uncertain about the identities of the culprits.
 He may not observe the complete occurrence.
 His powers of observation, memory and description play an important part.3

i. UTILITY IN INVESTIGATIVE PROCESSES

The most important function of scientific investigation is to convert suspicion into reasonable
certainty of either guilt or innocence. Scientific evidences such as biological evidence cannot tell
a lie and decision arrived at by such an evidence is said to be justice through science.

The scientific tests may be employed in two ways, that is, they may directly be used as evidence
in court in a trial or they may be used merely as clues for investigation. Where the tests involve
the making of a statement, they may be directly adduced in evidence, provided they do not
amount to a confession because proof of a confession before a police officer or in the custody of
a police officer is prohibited.4

The evidence recovered at the crime scene holds great importance in the case trial since the
physical evidence found will always be objective. For example, a fingerprint found at the scene
of a crime can only belong to one person, who may or may not be the suspect but is definitely a
lead in the criminal investigation. However, if there is a witness to the crime and he/she might be

3
B. R. Sharma, ‘Forensic Science in Criminal Investigation’, ed. 4 (New Delhi: Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt.
Ltd. 2003) p. 33-34
4
Evidence Act 1872, s. 25-26

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a suspect in the police’s eyes, then in order to make him confess to the truth, he can be subjected
to narcoanalysis, lie detector or brain mapping tests. But the results of these tests are
inconclusive and highly subjective as the person being tested may confess to the crime under the
situation pressure or under the influence of the drugs given to him before the conduction of the
test.

ii. VALIDITY AND ADMISSIBILITY OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

The question relating to admissibility of scientific evidence such as polygraph, narcoanalysis,


DNA fingerprinting, etc., has to be tested according to Clause (3) of Article 20 of the
Constitution, which lays down:

“(3) No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against


himself.”

The ability to admit scientific evidence, however, is at the discretion of the presiding judge, who
must consider the validity of the evidence, the credibility of the science behind it, and how
influential each piece of evidence may prove during a given case. Scientific evidence is relevant
in cases where conventional forms of crime have assumed immense proportion, say in the form
of public outcry, or to make up for shortfalls in investigative processes.5

DNA fingerprinting is one such test where there is ample evidence of its scientific authenticity
however polygraphs and narcoanalysis tests cannot be relied upon because the results of these
tests are not always authentic. The admissions that he accused may make during these tests
cannot be considered truthful as there is possibility that the person undergoing the test might be
making the confession under the influence of the drugs administered to him.

5
Supra note 1

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CHAPTER 3

NARCO-ANALYSIS

The term narcoanalysis is used to describe a diagnostic and psychotherapeutic technique that
uses psychotropic drugs, particularly barbiturates, to induce a stupor in which mental elements
with strong associated affects come to the surface, where they can be exploited by the therapist.

The narcoanalysis test is based on the principle that a person is able to lie using his imagination
and, under the influence of certain barbiturates, this capacity for imagination is blocked or
neutralised by leading the person into a semi-conscious state.6

Narcoanalysis has been the most debated topic amongst the legal fraternity, media and common
masses. With recent advent of technologies in every sphere of life, criminal investigation is no
more left out of its effects. Narcoanalysis is one of such scientific forms of investigation in
which some sort of statement from the accused is acquired which might form evidence. The
Evidence Act is completely silent on such employment of scientific process. Such process has
often been criticised as against the tenets of Constitution and on the other hand has been upheld
as a necessity to evaluate some complicated issues.

There are several issues regarding the validity of narcoanalysis as a scientific tool of
investigation and its admissibility in court of law.

I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE TEST

The narco-analysis test is conducted by mixing three grams of Sodium Pentothal or Sodium
Amytal dissolved in 3000 ml of distilled water. Narco-analysis is carried out only after a detailed
medical examination of the accused. If the accused is found medically fit to undergo the
procedure, then only will it be done, otherwise not.7

6
Barcelona Panda, ‘Narcoanalysis and its Evidentiary Value in India’, (2011) PL July
7
Satyendra K. Kaul and Mohd. H. Zaidi, NarcoAnalysis, Brain Mapping, Hyponsis & Lie Detector Tests in
Investigation of Suspect, Alia Law Agency, Allahabad, 2008, pp. 109-110.

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Narco test refers to the practice of administering barbiturates or certain other chemical
substances, most often Pentothal Sodium, to lower a subject’s inhibitions, in the hope that the
subject will more freely share information and feelings. A person is able to lie by using his
imagination.

In the narco-analysis test, the subject’s inhibitions are lowered by interfering with his nervous
system at the molecular level. It becomes difficult for the person to lie and his answers would be
restricted to facts he is aware of.8 The statements made by the accused are recorded on audio and
video cassettes, and the report of the expert is helpful in collecting evidence.9

II. ADMISSIBILITY OF NARCOANALYSIS RESULTS IN COURT

The narcoanalysis test is often associated with the infringement of individual’s fundamental
rights which raises questions about its value as evidence.

Narcoanalysis is not considered very reliable. Studies done by various medical associations in
the US adhere to the view that truth serums do not induce truthful statements and subjects in
such a condition of trance under the truth serum may give false or misleading answers. In USA,
in the case of Townsend v. Sain10 it was held that the petitioner’s confession was constitutionally
inadmissible if it was adduced by the police questioning, during a period when the petitioner’s
will was overborne by a drug having the property of a truth serum.

The Constitution of India has clearly stated that a person cannot be compelled to be a witness
against himself 11 , and therefore, any statement given during the narcoanalysis test cannot be
considered evidence in the constitutional framework of the country. In fact, studies have shown
that sometimes the subject (person undergoing the test) gives false statements during the test. If
the test was given evidentiary value, the police would harass innocent persons under the garb of
tackling terrorism.12

8
Kumari, S. Kusuma, ‘Narcoanalysis Right to Self-Incrimination Versus Public Interest’, 2007 Cri LJ J
9
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 125 L Ed 2d
10
372 US 293 (1963)
11
Kriti Das, ‘Narco-Analysis: A Breakthrough in Indian Investigation’, The Viewspaper, 2009
12
Rojo George v. DSP, (2006) 2 KLT 197

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Narcoanalysis test is a restoration of memory which the suspect had forgotten. This test result
may be doubtful if the test is used for the purposes of confession of crimes. Suspects of crimes
may, under the influence of drugs, deliberately withhold information or may give untrue account
of incident precisely.

Such tests generally don’t have legal validity as confessions made by a semi-conscious person
are not admissible in court. The court may, however, grant limited admissibility after considering
the circumstances under which the test was obtained.

III. NARCOANALYSIS IN INDIA

A few democratic countries, India most notably, still continue to use narcoanalysis.
Narcoanalysis is not openly permitted for investigative purposes in most developed and
democratic countries.

In India, the Narcoanalysis test is done by a team comprising of an anaesthesiologist, a


psychiatrist, a clinical/forensic psychologist, an audio-videographer, and supporting nursing
staff. The forensic psychologist will prepare the report about the revelations, which will be
accompanied by a compact disc of audio-video recordings.13 The strength of the revelations, if
necessary, is further verified by subjecting the person to polygraph and brain mapping tests.

Narcoanalysis is steadily being mainstreamed into investigations, court hearings, and laboratories
in India. Narcoanalysis came in the limelight in the context of infamous Nithari village (Noida)
serial killings. The two main accused in the Nithari serial killings Mohinder Singh Pandher and
Surendra Kohli had undergone narcoanalysis tests in Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Narcoanalysis was
also used in the interrogation of Ajmal Kasab, the main accused in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

13
Sonakshi Verma, ‘The Concept Of Narcoanalysis In View Of Constitutional Law And Human Rights’

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CASE ANALYSIS

A. AARUSHI TALWAR-HEMRAJ DOUBLE MURDER CASE

The body of Aarushi Talwar was found in her bedroom in house No. L-32, Jalvayu Vihar, Sector
25, Noida, on the night of 15-16.5.2008. In the first information report Dr. Rajesh Talwar, her
father pointed the needle of suspicion at Hemraj, a domestic help in the household of the
Talwars. On 17.5.2008 the dead body of Hemraj was recovered from the terrace of the same
house, i.e., house No. L-32, Jalvayu Vihar, Sector 25, Noida, where Aarushi’s murder had also
allegedly been committed.

First hand Investigations conducted by the police revealed the following points-

1. No blood of Hemraj was found on the bed sheet and pillow of Aarushi. There is no
evidence to prove that Hemraj was killed in the room of Aarushi.
2. Dragging mark on steps only indicate that murder has taken place somewhere other than
the terrace.
3. On the clothes of Dr. Rajesh Talwar, only the blood of Aarushi was found but there was
no trace of blood of Hemraj.
4. The clothes that Dr. Nupur Talwar was wearing in the photograph taken by Aarushi in the
night of the incident were seized by CBI but no blood was found during forensic
examination.
5. Murder weapons were not recovered immediately after the offence. One of the murder
weapon i.e. sharp edged instrument could not be recovered till date and expert could not
find any blood stain or DNA of victims from golf stick to directly link it to the crime.
6. There is no evidence to explain the finger prints on the scotch bottle (which were found
along with blood stains of both the victims on the bottle).
7. The guards of the colony are mobile during night and at the entrance they do not make
any entry. Therefore, their statements regarding movement of persons may not be
foolproof.

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8. The exact sequence of events between (in the intervening night of 15-16/05/2008) 00.08
mid night to 6:00 AM in the morning is not clear. No evidence has emerged to show the
clear role of Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar, individually, in the commission of
crime.
9. A board of experts constituted during earlier investigation team has given an opinion that
the possibility of the neck being cut by khukri cannot be ruled out, although doctors who
have conducted postmortem have said that cut was done by surgically trained person with
a small surgical instrument.
10. There is no evidence to explain the presence of Hemraj’s mobile in Punjab after murder.
11. The offence has occurred in an enclosed flat hence no eye witness are available.
12. The blood soaked clothes of the offenders, clothes used to clean the blood from the flat
and stair case, the sheet on which the Hemraj was carried and dragged on the roof, the
bed cover which was used to cover the view from the steel iron grill on the roof are not
available and hence could not be recovered.14

All the above findings raised suspicions as to whether the murders were committed by Dr.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. Therefore they were subjected to narcoanalysis test to confirm their
involvement in the crime. The CBI carried out narco-analysis test on Nupur Talwar between
February 8 and February 12, 2010 and on Rajesh Talwar between February 15 and 20, 2010 at
the Forensic Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. However, the investigations drew a
blank.

No concrete evidence could be collected even after conducting the narco-test of the Talwar
couple that could help in further investigations in the case. The test was conducted to find out if
Nupur Talwar or Rajesh Talwar knew anything about the case, but they knew nothing different
about the murder of the teenage girl.15

In this particular case, the results of the narcoanalysis were admissible in court.

14
Nupur Talwar vs. Central Bureau of Investigation and Anr. AIR 2012 SC 1921
15
The Times of India, Mar 17, 2010

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B. NITHARI SERIAL KILLINGS

The narco-analysis test of the prime accused in the Noida serial murder case Moninder Singh
Pandher was conducted at the Directorate of Forensic Laboratory. Pandher and Koli had been
accused of serial killing of women and children in Nithari village, in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The
Noida police had brought Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli to DFS for forensic tests. The
tests are usually expected to go on for approximately eight hours. The two accused were probed
on two angles. One was what the accused wanted to say and the other was what the investigators
wanted to know.

Koli’s admissions during the tests indicated he used to rape and kill children as an ‘ego-
satisfying habit’ as he was sexually deprived and feared that he was becoming impotent. Koli
also admitted to systematically chopping the bodies of the children, including minor girls, and
dumping them in the drain behind Pandher’s house on several occasions.

The results of the test were not admissible as evidence in court but are designed to help police
with their investigation.

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CRITICISM OF NARCO-ANALYSIS TEST

Narcoanalysis has been criticised on the ground that it is not hundred per cent accurate. It has
been found that certain subjects made totally false statements. It is often unsuccessful in eliciting
truth as such it should not be used to compare the statement already given to the police before
use of drug. It has been found that a person has given false information even after administration
of drug. It is very difficult to suggest a correct dose of drug for a particular person. The dose of
drug will differ according to will power, mental attitude and physique of the subject.16

For its success, a competent and skilled interviewer is required who is trained in putting recent
and successful questions. Narcoanalysis is not recommended as an aid to criminal investigation.
Unless the test is conducted with the consent of the suspect it should not be used in criminal
investigation.

Abhyudaya Agarwal & Prithwijit Gangopadhyay, ‘Use of Modern Scientific Tests in Investigation and Evidence:
16

Mere Desperation or Justifiable in Public Interest’, (2009) 2 NUJS Law Review 31.

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CHAPTER 4

CONCLUSION

There is urgent need for the application of forensic science in the criminal justice delivery
system. The use of scientific or forensic evidence in criminal trials not only identifies the actual
guilty but also prevents the innocent from being convicted wrongly. The principle of the Indian
legal system is based on the fact that until proved guilty, a person is innocent and an innocent
cannot be convicted even if a hundred criminals are surrendered.

With the above objective in mind, subjecting a person to narcoanalysis without his consent will
be surely undermining his individual rights which are absolutely negating the principle of a right
based society.

The use of scientific proof in a forensic setting has proven problematic for both judges and
attorneys because most of them are not technically trained. Much of the difficulty encountered
by courts when facing scientific evidence lies not in a lack of understanding the underlying
science but in the task of choosing between competing scientific explanations.

Law is a living process, which changes according to the changes in society, science, and ethics
and so on. The Legal System should imbibe developments and advances that take place in
science as long as they do not violate fundamental legal principles and are for the good of the
society. The Central government must make a clear policy stand on narco analysis because what
is at stake is India’s commitment to individual freedoms and a clean criminal justice system.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

 Books referred:

Singh, Dr. Avtar., Principles of the Law of Evidence, Central Law Publications,
2014
Prasad, B. M., Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, Lexis Nexis
Butterworths, New Delhi, 2016

 Statutes referred:

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872


The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

 Websites:

1. http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l176-Narco-Analysis.html
2. http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/102549/11/11_chapter%204.pdf
3. http://iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol19-issue10/Version
4. http://www.livelaw.in/movie-review-talvar-an-indictment-of-the-indian-legal-system/

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