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The Evidentiary value of Narco Test

The evidentiary value of narco – analysis test plays a vital role in the field of criminal law. However the Indian Evidence Act 1972, is silent on this issue, though the said act allows a person to  be a witness but not suppose to deduct any conclusion. It allows an expert to give their opinion where the subject matter involves technical knowledge specially in the field of Forensic science.

The narco – analysis test is a combination of two words ‘narco’ and ‘analysis’ which means psycho – analysis. In this process a drug name sodium pentothal/ sodium amytal is administered to a suspect. The suspect comes at the state of semi- unconscious or more or less like sleep. Thereafter a frequent questions are directed to a suspect in order to find out the facts. The drugs have a common name  called ‘truth serum’. But the process of finding out the truth by this process is still debatable.

These drugs work on the principle of inhibiting the thought filtration procedure of the brain, the principle behind is when we lie , our thoughts are filter by the brain and decides by the brain what is to be exposed and what has to be unrevealed. By application of this procedure a person can no longer shift his idea and to speak the truth or so is supposed.

Narco – analysis has been the most debatable issue specially in a recent case of ‘Shraddha Walker Murder’ where her paramour is a suspect in killing her and chopped her body into 35 pieces. But the question is ‘really narco – analysis is against the tenets of constitution vis – a – vis the Indian Evidence Act, 1972’.

Indian Evidence Act,1872

Section 3 of the Evidence Act, 1872 defines evidence as under: “Evidence” means and includes

(1) All statements which the Court permits or requires to be made before it by witnesses, in relation to matters of act under inquiry; such statements are called oral evidence;

(2) All statements including electronic records produced for the inspection of the Court; Such statements are called documentary evidence.            

The question is whether any statement recorded in narco – analysis would admissible in court of law or not. The simple answer for this question is ‘NO’ because as per the criminal jurisprudence, for admissibility of any statement a person must be in a fit state of mind. However any statement recorded in narco – analysis if corroborated with any other relevant fact would be admissible. Though admissibility of any statement depends upon the discretion of the court.  Moreover  The combined effect of the provision of Section 24 to 27 and Section 32 of the Evidence Act would bar statements from being admissible in evidence because there is the slightest doubt coercion, or intimidation or any type of fear that the statement was not free and frank or that immediately before such test the subject was harassed by the police or was coerced, then such statements would be meaningless.


Narco – Analysis should not be done without the consent of the suspect if it is being done by the order of the court than the admissibility must be based some other corroborated evidence. In Shraddha murder case the suspect Aftab was her paramour and they both were in a live in relationship. If there are other evidence like report of the forensic lab, murder weapon with aftab’s finger print, Cctv footage, etc. then evidentiary value of narco – analysis will have some weight otherwise the conviction solely on the basis of narco – analysis would serve injustice to the suspect.  

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