Narco Analysis: A Volcano in the Criminal Justice System

Author: Pranay Golchha, Student, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, India


Law is a dynamic field; it cannot be stagnant with relevance to the change in society and hence has to keep in touch with the changing social order. It is understood that the judiciary must stay in touch with the progress made by humanity. Therefore, to fight organized crime and aid the process of investigation, new prevention methods need to be employed simultaneously. If the criminals take the help of new and upcoming technology to commit crimes, it is the demand of the time for the enforcement agencies also to use new techniques to investigate the crimes committed. Horseley coined the term narco-analysis. In 1922, narco-analysis reached its height as Robert House, a Texas Obstetrician, used a drug on two prisoners to extract information pertinent to a case.

The test involves the use of certain substances in controlled quantities to be injected into the body for two-three hours so that the accused goes into a hypnotic trance. It is followed by an interrogation which is recorded in audio or video cassettes. Narco analysis was conducted in 2001 for the first time in India; Bangalore Forensic Science Laboratory conducted it on an individual associated with offences committed by Veerappan. It was Krishna Iyyer J. who remarked that “the courts self-criminate themselves if they keep the gates partly open for the culprit to flee the justice under the guise of interpretative enlargement of the golden rule of criminal jurisprudence.”

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