A fond farewell to “narco analysis”

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2010-05-06

The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the forcible administration of truth drugs ("narco analysis") and "lie detector" tests to suspects by investigative agencies is unconstitutional and that the results themselves may not be used as evidence in court. In its very clear 251-page ruling, the three-judge bench (K.G. Balakrishnan, R.V. Raveendran, and J.M. Panchal) observed that, apart from infringing upon personal liberty and the constitutional right against self-incrimination, the scientific validity of of the impugned techniques has been questioned.

In other words, if you want to use Veritaserum, you know where to find Azkaban.

Of course, this is seen as a “major blow” to law enforcement agencies, who are understandably upset about the prospect of having to do some actual investigating for a change.

Pre-marital sex is fine, though

In another recent ruling, the court (K.G. Balakrishnan, Deepak Verma, B.S. Chauhan) dismissed the 23 ridiculous defamation complaints filed against Tamil actress Khushboo (for allegedly “endorsing pre-marital sex”), which the Madras High Court had inexpicably allowed to proceed to that point. Earlier, the judges caused widespread consternation with their entirely unsurprising observation that consenting adults may choose to “live together” (and, presumably, have sex) without causing any offence under the law.

How does it concern you? We are not bothered. At the most it is a personal view. How is it an offence? Under which provision of the law? the bench asked the counsel. […]

How many homes have been affected can you tell us, the Bench asked while enquiring whether the complainants had daughters. When the response was in the negative, they shot back, Then, how are you adversely affected?

I wish I'd been there to see the look on the plaintiffs' faces!