When his “voice” itself becomes subject matter for trial, “silence” cannot be a shield, the Court observed.
The Madras High Court, in its two recent judgments, has upheld trial court orders allowing prosecution to draw voice sample of the accused persons for comparison with that of the questionable voice recorded in the course of intercepted telephonic conversion between the accused.
Justice G Jayachandran held that requesting the to give their voice sample for comparison with that of the questionable voice recorded in the course of intercepted telephonic conversion between them by no stretch of imagination falls within the mischief of testimonial compulsion.
The contention put forth by the counsel for the accused was that Section 311-A includes only ‘handwriting’, but ‘no voice samples’. Rejecting the said contention, the court observed: “Drawing of voice sample is only a measurement of waves emanating through vocal cord. It is only a measurement and fall within the meaning of physical examination and not testimonial compulsion. While so, it is incorrect to plead that in the absence of express provision enabling the investigation agency to draw the voice sample prohibits them to do so. Any methodology which does not have the trappings of invasiveness is permissible in law.”
The court also referred to its recent order wherein it had observed that taking of voice sample does not involve any physical or psychiatric extortion upon the accused person “When his “voice” itself become subject matter for trial, “silence” cannot be a shield. More so when drawing voice sample is only a physical examination without exerting any external force,” the court had observed in the said case.
The court, in the said case, had further observed: “The voice test is done by spectrograph method, where the waves emanating from the human body voice is recorded. Since it emanates from the body, though not visible but audible, it has to be termed as bodily substance. It cannot be considered as testimonial evidence. Only the Investigating Officer asked the accused person to speak the questionable passage verbatim sought to be compared with the specimen sample.”