Guidelines for Lie Detection / Narco analysis / Polygraphy etc Test

Supreme Court in Smt Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka (Criminal Appeal No. 1267 of 2004) on 5th May 2010 held that :

No individual should be forcibly subjected to any of the techniques in question, whether in the context of investigation in criminal cases or otherwise. Doing so would amount to an unwarranted intrusion into personal liberty.

However, the court allowed voluntary administration of the impugned techniques in the context of criminal justice, provided that certain safeguards are in place. Even when the subject has given consent to undergo any of these tests, the test results by themselves cannot be admitted as evidence because the subject does not exercise conscious control over the responses during the administration of the test. However, any information or material that is subsequently discovered with the help of voluntary administered test results can be admitted, in accordance with Section 27 of the Evidence Act, 1872.

The National Human Rights Commission had published ‘Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test (Lie Detector Test) on an Accused’ in 2000. These guidelines should be strictly adhered to and similar safeguards should be adopted for conducting the ‘Narcoanalysis technique’ and the ‘Brain Electrical Activation Profile’ test. The text of these guidelines has been reproduced below:
  1. No Lie Detector Tests should be administered except on the basis of consent of the accused. An option should be given to the accused whether he wishes to avail such test. 
  2. If the accused volunteers for a Lie Detector Test, he should be given access to a lawyer and the physical, emotional and legal implication of such a test should be explained to him by the police and his lawyer. 
  3. The consent should be recorded before a Judicial Magistrate. 
  4. During the hearing before the Magistrate, the person alleged to have agreed should be duly represented by a lawyer. 
  5. At the hearing, the person in question should also be told in clear terms that the statement that is made shall not be a ‘confessional’ statement to the Magistrate but will have the status of a statement made to the police. 
  6. The Magistrate shall consider all factors relating to the detention including the length of detention and the nature of the interrogation. 
  7. The actual recording of the Lie Detector Test shall be done by an independent agency (such as a hospital) and conducted in the presence of a lawyer. 
  8. A full medical and factual narration of the manner of the information received must be taken on record.

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