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Monday, July 16, 2018

Najeeb disappearance: Delhi court dismisses plea for polygraph test on nine JNU students

The court also relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment, wherein it had said that a lie detector or polygraph test cannot be administered except on the basis of consent of the accused

Written by Abhishek Angad | New Delhi | Published: November 22, 2017 2:15:29 am
Najeeb disappearance, Najeeb disappearance case, Delhi court, JNU students, Najeeb, JNU, India News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Najeeb’s mother Fatima

A Delhi court has dismissed the CBI’s plea to conduct polygraph test on nine JNU students in connection with the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmad, and said that there is “no requirement” of calling them to court for recording their denial or consent.

“This application cannot be allowed at this stage. There is no requirement of calling these persons in court for recording their denial of consent,” the court said. The CBI had moved an application, stating that in the “interest of investigation”, it is necessary to conduct a polygraph test on the nine people as “certain allegations” were levelled against them. The agency had prayed to the court to summon them for recording their consent.

In his reply, lawyer Vishwa Bhushan Arya, appearing for the students, had raised a few objections stating that the application filed by the CBI is premature and “not maintainable” at this stage as the agency has failed to “appreciate” the NHRC’s guidelines.

The defence counsel then produced in court the guidelines on lie-detector test, which state that one can only undergo it voluntarily. He then submitted that summoning the students to record their consent or refusal is nothing but a coercive measure and in “no terms can be considered voluntarily”.

A week after hearing both sides, Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal said, “In the present case, the tenor of the reply filed by the aforesaid persons clearly reflects that they are opposing the application of polygraph test filed by the investigating officer to the extent that they are praying for the dismissal, which pre-supposes the lack of consent for polygraph test. It means that these persons are not willing to go for the test.”

The court also relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment, wherein it had said that a lie detector or polygraph test cannot be administered except on the basis of consent of the accused.

“The physical, emotional and legal implications of such tests have to be explained by the police and the lawyer. Since the persons are represented by the lawyer, it is presumed that their lawyer must have explained the implications of such a test although that stage comes only when a person volunteers,” the court said.

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