SELF INCRIMINATION DOCTRINE AND THE RIGHT TO SILENCEThe right against ‘Self Incrimination’ when it applies is an absolute right and is subjectto no exceptions.
A review of this right leads us to the traditional reliance of the Stateon confessions as most convenient in getting criminal convictions. A very fine line wasto be drawn to limit the power of the State in attempting to acquire such incriminatingconfessions and prevent abuse of its undisputed power in course of the same. Suchabuse has been observed over the years with the police and investigating agenciesresorting to third degree methods in extracting information from the accused. Torturinga person to extract information from him has been resorted to by law enforcementagencies as a convenient, fast and direct method of investigation to bypass theexpensive and arduous processes of lengthy investigation.
The line to be drawn by thecourts was in the form of the ‘Right against Self Incrimination’; in general, this doctrinestates that
‘no person, accused of any offence, shall be compelled to be a witnessagainst himself’.
“Self incrimination doctrine is dead; Long live self incrimination doctrine:Confessions, Scientific evidence and the anxieties of the Liberal State”
ed. (2006), p.36: The author argues that ambiguities relating to the doctrine arise of the nature the fact situation and about theconditions that will trigger its protection.
Fischer v. United States
425 U.S 391, 400, it was held thatthe United States’ Fifth Amendment which affords the protection of ‘Self Incrimination’ cannot beremoved by showing reasonableness. Reasonableness does not make for an exception to this protection. The Supreme Court of India in
State of Bombay v. Kalu Kathi Onghad and Ors
AIR 1961SC 1861: (1962) Bom LR 240 : 1961 Cri LJ 856
held that while the scope of the protection afforded by Art. 20(3) is open to interpretation, the provision as a whole has no exceptions to it. Theinterpretations here are based solely on technicalities and the spirit behind the inclusion of this principle in the interests of efficient criminal jurisprudence.
The Right against Self Incrimination is flexible only because our courts have refused to clearly answer all the questions afforded by it; and whenthis court has done so, changes in science and technology have thrown open new areas of confusionregarding this right. This does not reduce in any measure the effect of the protection offered by Article20(3).
M. Sivananda Reddy,
07:30 p.m: The author discussesthe history of narco analysis and other scientific methods and how the former was in prevalence andhas been replaced by the latter.
ARTICLE 20(3) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA AND NARCO ANALYSIS: BLENDINGTHE MUCH AWAITED