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Narco, polygraph or brain mapping tests cannot be conducted on any person, whether an accused or a suspect, without their consent, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal said the forcible administration of these tests was an “unwarranted intrusion of the personal liberty” of a person accused of an offence.

Forcible tests, the court said, violated Article 20(3) of the constitution that says no person accused of an offence could be compelled to be a witness against himself.

It added that even in cases where a person voluntarily submits to undergo these tests to establish his or her innocence, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) guidelines had to be observed.

Chief Justice Balakrishnan said any confession of the guilt by the accused during the course of these tests could not be treated as evidence in the trial court.

The Supreme Court had reserved the verdict on a batch of petitions moved by ‘godmother’ Santokben Jadeja, underworld don Arun Gawli and others challenging the validity of these tests.

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