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In a shocking development the Mumbai Police asked a court for permission to make Sooraj Pancholi undergo the highly controversial narco-analysis test. The 22-year-old who was set to make his Bollywood debut has been accused of allegedly abetting his girlfriend Jiah Khan's suicide. A six-page note was released by her mother, in which Jiah alleged Sooraj was responsible for her pushing her to commit suicide. Legal experts have reacted sharply to this demand for a narco-analysis test. The test was previously applied to the likes of Kasab, Abdul Telgi (stamp paper scam) and a suspect of the Kurla rape-murder case.
In recent times, the plea for Sooraj's innocence has been gathering steam on social media and this move is sure to elicit a sharp response from many for the highhanded approach that the police seemed to have adopted in investigating the Jiah Khan suicide. Legal eagles believe that it's a prosecution move to weaken the defence as any opposition to the narco-analysis would prompt the cops to suggest that the defendant is hiding something.
Sooraj's arrest was based on a letter produced by Rabiya Khan which neither mentioned him by name nor was signed by Jiah though the tone of the letter suggested it was about Sooraj. Even the authenticity of the letter is in doubt.
Lawyer and activist Y P Singh told TOI, 'The Supreme Court has clearly stated that such tests have to be voluntary in nature. If he decides against giving his consent, it cannot have any bearing on the trial process or prejudice police investigations. He might have his personal reasons not to go ahead with the tests,' he said. Singh further said that such a test should be used only to recovery hidden incriminating material. 'The test cannot be used to seek a statement of confession from the accused during investigations,' he added. Most experts believe that the test is rather subjective and its results should be taken with a pinch of salt.
What's a narco-analysis test?
The test consists of giving people sedatives such as sodium pentothal or sodium amytal which renders a person hypnotic and unable to lie. It can make people volunteer information they wouldn't have normally shared. Its use has been controversial and any confession made under the influence of narcotics isn't admissible as evidence.
The decision to make a 22-year-old, charged with abetment of suicide based on an unsigned letter, undergo a narco-analysis is downright bizarre. Perhaps it's a case of bowing to public sentiment, but the police seem to be overenthusiastic with their investigation to blame Sooraj for Jiah's suicide. The test itself is considered inaccurate and many consider it unsafe and inefficient. Making someone undergo the test without permission is actually unconstitutional and we see no reason to subjugate Sooraj to a test like this.
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