3 Sep 2022 9:30 AM GMT
The Rajasthan High Court has recently directed the trial court to immediately permit a husband-petitioner, charged with causing dowry death of his wife, to voluntarily undergo Narco Analysis Test in support of his defence and thereby enter the same into evidence.Dr. Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati observed, "Even if the Narco Analysis test may not have an absolute binding impact upon the...
The Rajasthan High Court has recently directed the trial court to immediately permit a husband-petitioner, charged with causing dowry death of his wife, to voluntarily undergo Narco Analysis Test in support of his defence and thereby enter the same into evidence.
Dr. Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati observed,
"Even if the Narco Analysis test may not have an absolute binding impact upon the result of the trial, it is certainly is a scientific technique recognized by law, and is being utilized in the course of investigation, by prosecution agencies as well as by the Courts, to support and corroborate the main evidence. And thus, denying the petitioner an opportunity to render such defence evidence at the appropriate stage, as is statutorily provided to him, would not only be detrimental to the cause of justice, but shall also be a clear violation of his statutory right envisaged under Section 233 Cr.P.C."
Essentially, the petitioner, who is husband of the deceased-victim, is facing trial under Sections 304-B & 498- A IPC. In this petition, he challenged the trial court's order rejecting his application, wherein he sought to submit himself to a Narco Analysis test and then to bring the resultant report of the same onto the record as a part of his defence. He submitted that the Narco Analysis Test is a recognised technique under Section 233 CrPC. He added that Section 233 CrPC would operate, as while entering into his own defence, thereby making him entitled to present any evidence, he may have in support thereof.
The court held that under Section 233 CrPC, an indefeasible right is created, which has been carved out with a clear legislative intent of giving the accused who has not been acquitted at the stage of Section 232 CrPC, an opportunity to present evidence, which he may have in support of his defence.
The court opined that Section 315 CrPC affords the accused an opportunity to be a competent witness for his own defence, and the proviso to the said section, in keeping with the liberty granted to the accused under the Constitution, in Article 20 (3), being the right against self incrimination, is also upheld as the accused cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself but permits him to do so, if he so chooses.
Further, the court observed that such a scientific technique, which is recognized by the strength of law in the courts and in the country's legal system, and also crystallised by the Apex Court in the landmark case of Selvi & Ors. Vs. State of Karnataka (2010) 7 SCC 263. The court noted that the Apex Court has held that the voluntary administration of such scientific techniques in the context of criminal justice may be permitted, and therefore, the same cannot be denied to the petitioner as it would amount to depriving him of the valuable right to defend himself during the trial.
The court observed that denying the petitioner the said right would be a travesty of justice since the same is being sought to be utilized by the petitioner at the appropriate stage. Therefore, the court added that the same has to be allowed; more particularly, when by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that a scientific technique, like a Narco Analysis Test, is of no consequence for the result of the trial of the accused.
The counsel for the private respondent submitted that if at all any Narco Analysis Test had to be conducted, then it should have been conducted at the instance of prosecution. He added that at this stage, if the accused is permitted to undergo the Narco Analysis Test, it shall have no consequence as far as the present trial is concerned, as he will get adequate opportunity to make sufficient deposition before the learned trial court, and the deposition so made will have the same impact as that of the Narco Analysis test.
Adv. Neel Kamal Bohra appeared for the petitioner while PP Vikram Sharma and Adv. Himanshu Maheshwari appeared for the respondents.
Case Title: Sunil Bhati v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 227
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