Narco - Analysis
The term Narco-Analysis is derived from the Greek word marks (meaning Anaesthesia
) and 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 term narco-analysis
was coined by Horseley.
In the annals of police investigation, physical coercion has at times been
substituted for painstaking and time consuming inquiry in the belief that direct
methods produce quick results. Development of new tools of investigation has led
to the emergence of scientific tools of interrogation like the narco analysis
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. 
In this state, it becomes difficult though not impossible for him to lie. In
such sleep-like state efforts are made to obtain probative truth about the
crime. Experts inject a subject with hypnotics like Sodium Pentothal or Sodium Amytal under the controlled circumstances of the laboratory. The dose is
dependent on the person's sex, age, health and physical condition.
The subject which is put in a state of Hypnotism is not in a position to speak
up on his own but can answer specific but simple questions after giving some
suggestions. The answers are believed to be spontaneous as a semi-conscious
person is unable to manipulate the answers.
The subject is then interrogated by the investigating agencies in the presence
of the doctors. The revelations made during this stage are recorded both in
video and audio cassettes. The report prepared by the experts is what is used in
the process of collecting evidence. This procedure is conducted in government
hospitals after a court order is passed. Personal consent of the subject is also
Such tests are a result of advances in science but they often raise doubts
regarding basic human rights and also about their reliability. Legal questions
are raised about their validity with some upholding its validity in the light of
legal principles and others rejecting it as a blatant violation of
The application of narco analysis test involves the fundamental question
pertaining to judicial matters and also to Human Rights. The legal position of
applying this technique as an investigative aid raises genuine issues like
encroachment of an individual's rights, liberties and freedom. Subjecting the
accused to undergo the test, as has been done by the investigative agencies in
India, is considered by many as a blatant violation of Article 20(3) of
It also goes against the maxim Nemo Tenetur se Ipsum Accusare
that is, 'No man,
not even the accused, he himself can be compelled to answer any question, which
may tend to prove him guilty of a crime, he has been accused of'. If the
confession from the accused is derived from any physical or moral compulsion, it
should stand to be rejected by the court.
Polygraph Or Lie Detection Test
It is an examination, which is based on an assumption that there is an
interaction between the mind and body and is conducted by various components or
the sensors of a polygraph machine, which are attached to the body of the person
who is interrogated by the expert. The machine records the blood pressure, pulse
rate and respiration and muscle movements. 
Polygraph test is conducted in three phases- a pre-test interview, chart
recording and diagnosis. The examiner (a clinical or criminal psychologist)
prepares a set of test questions depending upon the relevant information about
the case provided by the investigating officer, such as the criminal charges
against the person and statements made by the suspect.
The subject is questioned and the reactions are measured. A baseline is
established by asking questions whose answers the investigators know. Lying by a
suspect is accompanied by specific, perceptible physiological and behavioural
changes and the sensors and a wave pattern in the graph expose this. Deviation
from the baseline is taken as a sign of lie. All these reactions are
corroborated with other evidence gathered.
It was Keeler who further refined the polygraph machine by adding a
Psycho-galvanometer to record the electrical resistance of the skin.
- Rojo George v/s Deputy Superintendent of Police 
Facts: The suspect raised the plea that the proposed Narco-Analysis test is
extremely problematical test which conducted after administering sodium
pentathlon due to which the central nervous system effect, heart rate slows and
blood pressure low. In the case, one Krishna Pillai confessed that he committed
the offence. But the officers are not prepared to investigate whether that
confession is true or not. The petitioner whole heartedly co-operated with the
Investigating Agency while conducting Brain Mapping and Polygraph Test but the
Investigating Agency was not able to collect any material. It is further averred
that it is very difficult to determine the correct dosage of the drug to be
administered on a subject since the same varies according to the age, sex,
physical constitution and also mental attitude and will power. 
Issue: It is argued that recording of a statement of a person undergoing Narco-Analysis
will amount to testimonial compulsion and the same is violative of Article 20(3)
of the Constitution. The immunity under Article 20(3) does not extend to
compulsory exhibition of the body or giving blood specimen.
Ratio: The court’s considered view is that the same principle should apply to Narco-Analysis also because it is also a scientific test conducted by a team of
scientists and not will amount to custodial interrogation by Police. Hence,
while allowing the narco analysis test Court is of the opinion that in present
day the criminals started to use very sophisticated and modern techniques for
committing the crime. So the conventional method of investigation and
questioning to the criminals will not be successful for solution and there is
need to utilize some new techniques such as polygraph, brain mapping and narco
Held: It was held by the court in this case that Narco-Analysis is a scientific
test conducted by the experts in the subject after taking all possible
precautions. But such adverse reaction can happen while administering any
medicine prescribed by doctors practicing modern medicine. So merely because
there is a remote possibility of adverse reaction, use of such techniques in
conducting investigation cannot be prevented.
- KM. Seema Azad v/s State of U.P. 2013 
Facts: Also called Shashi murder case, in the case, Vijaysen Yadav, the main
accused in the disappearance and murder case of Faizabad law student Shashi, has
gone through polygraph and narco-analysis test. In this case, the incumbent BSP
MLA, Anand Sen was convicted for a murder of a law student, Shashi of Faridabad.
Role of the Test: Faizabad Chief Judicial Magistrate Shailesh Tiwari permitted
the police on Friday to conduct the tests at the Central Forensic Laboratory in
Bangalore. During his Polygraph and Narco Analysis Test, Vijay Sen (co –
accused) said that the then minister had illicit relations with Shashi who
eventually got pregnant. This left Anand Sen concerned according to Anand Sen
who in his analysis reported the fact as was when known to Anand was asked Vijay
to murder her. Vijay Sen in his trance like stage even revealed that after the
said incident, Anand called him and told him that he had pushed her into a canal
and strangulated her with his own hands and then disposed her body in the canal
only. This was further corroborated with the help of phone calls between Anand
and Vijay Sen from the site where Shashi was murdered.
Held: On the basis of Vijay’s statements recorded in the narco analysis and
polygraph test, police arrested Anand Sen who was at the moment, minister in
Mayawati cabinet. He continues to be in jail and bail application is pending
before the Allahabad High Court.
- Selvi Murugeshan v/s State of Maharashtra 
Facts: In the mentioned case, Kavita Murugeshan, wife of Shiv Kumar and daughter
of Selvi Murugeshan, a T.N sitting MLA lodged an FIR that her parents and their
friend Govindraj, have murdered of her husband She had charged her parents for
the murder of her husband as she has made love marriage with him, who belonged
to the other caste, against the wishes of her parents. The victim was kidnapped
while he was walking with his wife and next day he was found murdered at a field
in Bangalore rural district. His head was smashed with a boulder and he was
identified by his driving licence.
Issue: In this sensational case, the investigating agency made demand from the
court for conducting Narco-Analysis test. In this case, the question before the
court was that whether conducting of Narco-Analysis test on the accused person
will be a violation of Article 20(3) of Indian Constitution?
Ratio: The Court said that it will be depend upon the nature of the question
which is to be asked from the accused person. Whether the statement made or any
information given by the accused person will be either exculpatory or inculpatory and it is only inculpatory statement which is hit by the Article
20(3) of the Constitution. Therefore, it is premature to say regarding the
nature of the statement or the information which the accused gives under Narco-Analysis
test. Collection of evidence is permitted under the law by the police officer.
Conducting the Narco Analysis test on the accused person is also part of
collecting the evidence.
Role of the Test: The Narco-Analysis test showed the involvement of Selvi
Murugeshan and her husband.
Held: SC laid down the principle about conducting of Narco-Analysis that Narco-Analysis
test cannot be conducted on the accused person without taking the consent from
the accused person. It was further held by the Court that this test should be
conducted in the presence of an expert.
- Nupur Talwar v/s Cbi & Anr 2012 
Facts: Famously known as Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj Double Murder Case, in which case
Arushi, a 14 year girl was found to be dead in the home on 16-05-2008. The
report was made by the parents of Arushi in the police station. The body of Aarushi Talwar
was found in her bedroom. 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 where Aarushi’s murder had also
allegedly been committed. But after two days the dead body of Hemraj was also
found on the terrace of the house of Arushi. 
First hand Investigations conducted by the police revealed the following points:
- 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
- Dragging mark on steps only indicate that murder has taken place somewhere other
than the terrace.
- On the clothes of Dr. Rajesh Talwar, only the blood of Aarushi was found but
there was no trace of blood of Hemraj.
- 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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- There is no evidence to explain the presence of Hemraj’s mobile in Punjab after
- The offence has occurred in an enclosed flat hence no eye witnesses are
Role of the Tests: All the above findings raised suspicions as to whether the
murders were committed by Dr. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. The parents of Arushi
were arrested by the police and were directed to take forensic tests. In this
case, therefore they were subjected to Narco-Analysis test, Polygraph test and
Brain mapping test. It was pleaded before the court that the report of these
tests cannot be taken as evidence in the court of law. The CBI carried out narco-analysis
test on Nupur and Rajesh Talwar between February 15 and 20, 2010 at the Forensic
Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. However, the investigations drew a
Held: 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
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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