Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
In the early 2000s, the CIA contracted with two psychologists, James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, to help them design interrogation methods for detainees held in secret prisons in places such as Afghanistan. The methods Mitchell and Jessen designed included "stuffing them inside coffin-like boxes, exposing them to extreme temperatures and ear-splitting levels of music, starving them," and depriving them of sleep, according to the Senate's report on CIA torture. If it wasn't bad enough that the men who were held in these secret detention sites were tortured repeatedly, a recent report on the CIA's torture program found that it didn't even lead to useful information.
Although other prisoners have filed lawsuits over their treatment by U.S. agents, this is the first legal action taken against the healthcare professionals who created torture methods and trained the CIA to use them. It's also the first lawsuit filed by former prisoners since the Senate released a 525-page summary of its report on the torture program, and ACLU lawyer Dror Ladin told Refinery29 that the details now available to the public will make Suleiman's and Ben Soud's cases stronger. "Previous lawsuits involving the CIA torture program had a lot less public information to work with," Ladin said, and the government was able to keep enough information secret that it was all but impossible for former detainees to make their cases.
"Our single biggest concern is that there has been zero accountability for the torture program," said Ladin. "Without that — when you have impunity for torturers, when you don’t even apologize to the victims of it — it’s difficult to see how we’re not going to have history repeat itself in the future. We can just look forward without accounting for what we did in the past. We run a tremendous risk of going down this path."
One of the strangest things about the two psychologists who designed the program is that they not only received $81 million in government money for teaching people how to inflict physical and psychological damage on others, but they've also never faced any penalties for violating professional ethics. "It's mind-boggling that ethics complaints against them never went anywhere," Ladin said.
What would success look like for these men? "A successful outcome would be that this case goes forward, and these three victims and survivors get their day in court and get to tell their story," Ladin says. "A further success would be when these obvious violations of international law, that a judge and jury agree that these plaintiffs should receive some compensation for it."
The Mumbai police's application to conduct narco-analysis on Suraj Pancholi, son of Bollywoodactor Aditya Pancholi, who was arrested for allegedly abetting actor Jiah Khan's suicide, has once again brought attention on the much-abused test.
"At times, the police do resort to means, like the narco-analysis tests, as a shortcut to investigation or as a convenient tool to get their way. This should not be encouraged," said criminal lawyer Majeed Memon. "The facts of this case [Jiah's suicide] do not justify subjecting the accused [Suraj] to narco-analysis test and is undesirable."
One narco-analysis test that had left the state government red-faced was that of Abdul Karim Telgi, main accused in the fake stamp paper scam case. During the test in 2004, Telgi named leading Maharashtra politicians and of making payments to them. Then deputy chief ministerChhagan Bhujbal had to quit following the revelations. But investigations could not corroborate his statements.
More recently, the police's efforts to use narco tests to make breakthroughs in serious offences, such as rape and murder, have come a cropper.
Mohammed Ajmeri Sheikh, who was accused of raping and murdering a nine-year-old girl in Kurla in 2010, was subjected to the test with the hope that he would confess to raping and killing other girls in the areas, but the police got no leads. They were unable to file a chargesheet within the stipulated 90 days and Ajmeri got bail.
The other high-profile case involved Vijay Palande arrested for the murder of Delhi businessman Arun Tikku in Lokhandwala in 2012. Palande reportedly confessed to killing aspiring producer Karan Kakkar and dumping the body at Khumbarli ghat near Chiplun. There they stumbled upon the skeletal remains of an identified body. The narco test on Palande remained inconclusive and the crime branch could not identify the skeletal remains.
In other parts of the country, too, probes using narco tests have not been always successful. The results of the tests on Noida dentists Dr Ramesh Talwar and his wife Nupur in connection with the murders of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help were inconclusive.In Hyderabad, the police were unable to extract any information from Abdul Kaleem and Imran Khan, alleged associates of HUJI leaders Abu Hamza and Shahed alias Bilal, accused in the August 2007 twin blasts in that city.
Narco analysis misses!
2012 - Vijay Palande case
Police subject Vijay Palande, an alleged serial killer'', to narco analysis test.
Status: Tests were inconclusive as the police were unable to find the identity of a body they found in Kumbharli ghat.
2010 - Kurla serial rape and murder cases
Police conduct narco analysis tests on Mohammad Ajmeri Shaikh, an accused in the rape and murder of minor girls in Kurla.
Status: Test fail to yield any positive results for the police. Police fail to file chargesheet within the stipulated 90 days and the court releases Ajmeri on bail.
2010 - Arushi murder case.
Narco analysis was conducted on Dr. Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur in the Arushi murder case.
Status: The tests were inconclusive and the trial in the case is currently stayed.
2007 - Hyderabad twin blasts
Abdul Kaleem and Imran Khan, accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts case undergo narco analysis tests.
Status: Police fail to get any breakthrough in investigations or suspected connection with the 2005 terror attack on the Indian Institute of Science shootout
2004 - Telgi case
Abdul Karim telgi, the main accused in the multi crore fake stamp scam case was administered narcoanalysis tests. During his tests, Telgi had made allegations against some top politicians from Maharashtra.
Status: While Telgi was convicted in some of the cases, the allegations against the politicians came to naught.
The science of medicine incorporates sociological and epidemiological understanding. Medicine, and for that matter any science, not geared to real social andepidemiological issues loses its humanitarian content. The violence described and documented by voluntary groups is not that by common criminals. The violence covered here includes the deprivation of human and democratic rights, is associated with social and political mobilisation, is often inflicted on helpless, oppressed, unarmed or innocent persons and has notable ideological underpinnings. There are strong, extreme and sometimes genuine differences within the social groups on the attitude society should take on the subject. One finds strong defenders (and opponents) of third degree methods, an euphesism for torture, almost routinely employed by the police. Similar divergence prevails in debates on caste, communal, gender and other forms of violence.
Recognition of the fact that the reported instances of torture represent only a tip of the iceberg emphasises the need to document the problem in a systematic manner. There is a need to put together experiences in treatment and rehabilitation of such victims, create a clearing house for such information to be disseminated among interested professionals, and thus systematise corrective medical intervention.
The code laid down by the Medical Council of India is a good but greatly neglected document. Despite debates about commercialisation and sensational revelations in the press on various allegedly unethical practices by doctors, very little has been done by the medical associations to popularise and enforce this code.
Editorial : NARCO-ANALYSIS – RIGHT OR WRONG?
The advances in science must be used by the police to find out the
truth, to solve the mysteries of the crimes. It is the better option
for both investigation / interrogation than the classical
interrogation method involving third degree torture, where in the
accused breaks -down & blurts out the truth, usually, in most of the
cases innocents unable to bear the torture confesses to the crimes
they have not at all committed. The scientific tools of interrogation
namely Narco-analysis . Brain mapping & polygraph Tests must be made
mandatory for interrogation. The perpetrators of third degree torture
i.e. Police Military personnel must be punished severelly. Not just
on innocents, even on proven criminals police have no rights to
torture. It is grossly inhuman & illegal.
At present, there is certain bias in the usage of scientific
1) Generally everybody is afraid of police & their corrupt practices.
Even innocent persons are frightened of false fix-ups & third degree
torture by police. This fear shows up in their heightened anxiety
level, changes in their blood pressure, respiration, heart-beat etc.,
There are chances of misinterpreting this as the "Fear of a criminal
of being caught"
2) These scientific tools are in the hands of police only. Therefore
it is biased towards the police or prosecution in a case. Forensic
science labs where these scientific interrogations are conducted are
under the control of Police department . Fundamental objective of
police is to prove their case, the prosecutions stand point rather
than finding out the truth. Sometimes, the stand points of
prosecution police are influenced by caste, political & monetary
considerations. This bias reflects in the preparation of
the "Questionnaire by the Interrogator" The interrogator if he wants
to bring out a negative image of the accused before the court, he
prepares the questionnaire such that only negative issues come out as
the answers. If the accused has got political patronage & has paid
hefty bribe to the police questionnaire is prepared such as to bring
out a positive image, to highlight innocent image of the accused.
Leaving out all other related questions, which brings out truth, a
negative image of the accused. The police are the one who decide the
fate, destiny of the accused.
3) Every human being has two personalities with in his sub -
conscious mind one personality is evil, selfish & craves for all
material pleasures. The other personality is good , humane & sociable
one. Whenever an issue comes up before a human being , whenever a
human being sees, reads or hears a subject two opinions are
formulated about it by him. One by his evil, selfish ego the other by
his good, humane self .A perfect human being, a social being is one
who controls his mind, contains the evil influences of his selfish
self and follows the guidance of his good self. This readily
expresses itself through good humane social actions. A criminal is
one who does not have control over his mind and acts according to the
evil guidance of the selfish self.
There are chances of mis-interpretation during scientific
interrogation . If you expose only evil self you will get a negative
image or else if you expose only the good self you will get a
positive image of the accused. For a balanced view, you have to see
the both evil-self & good self of the accused together with his past
& present actions.
4) At present only it is the prosecution who can use these scientific
interrogation facilities, but not the defence.
In the fake stamp paper scam during Narco Analysis , king pin Mr.
Karim Lala Telgi blurted out the truth - gave out the names of his
VVIP accomplices, Police accomplices, his business details, so far so
Hereby I do request you to order both the union government & all
state governments :-
1) To keep the forensic science laboratories under the control of
autonomous bodies like National Human Rights Commission.
2) To make the scientific facilities of interrogation available for
both the prosecution & the defence of course, for a fee.
3) To enact legislation to subject the corrupt investigating officer,
corrupt public prosecutor, corrupt presiding judge of the case, etc.,
to scientific interrogations, by both the defence & prosecution.
4) To factor in the allowances for the natural fear for police (for
their corrupt, ruthless, devil face)
5) To create an unbiased impartial atmosphere free of fear or favour
to conduct the scientific interrogation.
6) To enact guidelines for scientific interrogation for framing
questions to bring out both good & evil self in the sub conscious to
have a balanced view of the man under question together with his past
& present actions .
7) To make it mandatory for all cases including VVIPs .
In various cases scams, involving VVIPs cases drag on for years.
Public money is wasted through waste of deliberations of the house (
Parliament, Legislative Assembly), Waste through constitution of
Parliamentary committees , Judicial commissions, why not all those
VVIPs accused of involvement in scams subjected to tests like Narco
analysis, poly graph, Brain finger printing etc., So that L K Advani
& Murali Manohar Joshi will tell about Babri Masjid demolition, Sonia
gandhi family will tell about Bofors, George Fernandese about
Tehelka, Raja about telecom tenders, Lallo Prasad Yadav about fodder scam. The
scam tainted VVIP list goes on. Why not these VVIPs are subjected to
scientific interrogation with unbiased questionnaire?
International" title="Support Amnesty International"
So far, Bangalore FSL has conducted over 900 narcoanalysis tests, which were mostly ordered by various courts across the country.
These have yielded some positive results and in at least 12 judgments of various high courts referred to the FSL narcoanalysis test reports.
In a recent judgment in the Ajay Kumar Pal versus State of Jharkhand on March 16, the Supreme Court held that the results of polygraph, narcoanalysis, BEOSP/ brain mapping and fingerprinting have been based as evidence to deduce the term 'the case of rarest of rare' to uphold the death sentence.
The services of the Bangalore FSL have been roped in to check Simi activists in Karnataka, blasts on Mumbai trains, in Hyderabad and Malegaon. From Abdul Kareem Telgi to underworld don Abu Salem and suspects in the Arushi murder case which stunned Delhi and ViniVinc Sastry are some of the high-profile cases in which narcoanalysis was done by Bangalore FSL.
However, things began going wrong during the trial of the Sister Abhaya case in Kerala. The CBI charged that the narcoanalysis report was tampered with and fingers began to be pointed at FSL officials.
FSL Assistant Director Dr S Malini, who used to conduct narcoanalysis, also ran into trouble over her date of birth in certificates as well as the procedure by which she was appointed. She was discharged the duty and the post has been vacant since then.
FSL director Dr Mohan told TOI that the FSL would get consent from the accused before conducting the tests. "We seek court permission and follow the guidelines laid down by the National Human Rights Commission also. However, we do not have experts now and therefore don't conduct these tests," he added.
rest is very significant.
|Narcoanalysis is being mainstreamed into investigations and court hearings in India. This raises grave scientific and ethical questions.|
Narcoanalysis is conducted in a hospital in the presence of a physician and an anaesthetist who administers the barbiturate. A clinical psychologist questions the suspect. Here, a suspect in a 2004 murder case in Bangalore is being "narcoanalysed". The court acquitted her as narcoanalysis could be used only for investigation and not to convict suspects.
Abdul Karim Telgi, the kingpin of the stamp paper scam, being brought to a Bangalore court in 2003. Telgi underwent narcoanalysis in Bangalore.
Abu Salem (right), one of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case and a close associate of the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, after a narcoanalysis test at Bowring Hospital, Bangalore, in December 2005.
Suspected terrorist Imran alias Bilal being taken to Bowring Hospital, Bangalore, for a second narcoanalysis test, in January 2007.
Surender Koli, main accused in the Nithari case, coming out from a forensic science laboratory in Gandhinagar in January 2007 after narcoanalysis.
The judges said relying on reports gathered from these techniques conflicts with the “right to fair trial”.
The bench expressed the SC’s dilemma in justifying the “use of torture or other improper means for eliciting information which could help in saving the lives of ordinary citizens”, but termed the government’s defence of making such means applicable to terror-related cases as “utilitarian considerations”.
Polygraphy is widely rejected as pseudoscience by the scientific community. Nonetheless, polygraphs are in some countries used as an interrogation tool with criminal suspects or candidates for sensitive public or private sector employment. US federal government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA and many police departments such as the LAPD use polygraph examinations to interrogate suspects and screen new employees. Within the US federal government, a polygraph examination is also referred to as a psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) examination.  History
 Testing procedure
|The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (April 2010)|
"We discovered there were some Eastern Europeans who could defeat the polygraph at any time. Americans are not very good at it, because we are raised to tell the truth and when we lie it is easy to tell are lying. But we find a lot of Europeans and Asiatics can handle that polygraph without a blip, and you know they are lying and you have evidence that they are lying."
 2003 National Academy of Sciences report
 Admissibility of polygraphs in court
 United States
- The veracity of the accused and the weight to be given to his evidence, and other witnesses called in the trial, was a matter for the jury.
- The polygraph "expert" sought to express an opinion as to ultimate facts in issue, which is peculiarly the province of the jury.
- The test purported to be expert evidence by the witness who was not qualified as an expert, he was merely an operator and assessor of a polygraph. The scientific premise upon which his assessment was based had not been proved in any Court in Australia.
- Devoid of any proved or accepted scientific basis, the evidence of the operator is hearsay which is inadmissible.
 Use with espionage and security clearances
|The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (April 2010)|
 Hand-held lie detector for U.S. military
 Use with sex offenders
 Polygraphy in popular culture
Court Rejects Legal Challenge to Polygraph Testing, memorandum opinion in Croddy, et al, v. FBI, October 2, 2006
Dept of Energy Counterintelligence Polygraph Policy, Federal Register, September 29, 2006. "The question of whether and to what extent DOE should use the polygraph as a tool for screening individuals for access to our most sensitive information is the latest manifestation of this perennial struggle."
Use of Polygraph Examinations in the Department of Justice, DoJ Office of Inspector General, September 2006. "In this report, we provide a detailed description of how polygraphs are used throughout the Department."
Hearing on Department of Energy Polygraph Program
04 September 2003 -- Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
- Statement of Sen. Pete Domenici, news release
- Statement of Kyle E. McSlarrow, Deputy Secretary of Energy
- Statement of Stephen E. Fienberg, Chair, NRC Committee on Polygraph
- FY 2002 Annual Report to Congress
- FY 2001 Annual Report to Congress
- FY 2000 Annual Report to Congress
- FY 1999 Annual Report to Congress
- FY 1998 Annual Report to Congress
- FY 1997 Annual Report to Congress
- The Polygraph Vs. National Security by Alan P. Zelicoff, March 11, 2004.
- Too Hot of a Potato: A Citizen Soldier's Encounter With the Polygraph by George W. Maschke, 2 February 2004
- Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress (PDF), July 8, 2003
- The Polygraph and Lie Detection, report of a National Academy of Sciences panel, 2002.
- The Lie Behind the Lie Detector by George W. Maschke and Gino J. Scalabrini, 2nd edition, March 2002. A scathing critique of the polygraph and its application.
- Teller on Polygraph, a letter from the late Edward Teller to the Secretary of Energy, October 27, 1999
- Federal Agency Views on the Potential Application of "Brain Fingerprinting" (PDF), U.S. General Accounting Office, Report No. GAO-02-22, October 2001.
- A Letter from Aldrich Ames on Polygraph Testing, written from Allenwood federal penitentiary, November 28, 2000 (PDF Version).
- Polygraph Testing and the DOE National Laboratories by Steven Aftergood, Science, November 3, 2000. "The Congressional requirement for polygraph testing of certain employees has arguably diminished both science and security at the national labs."
- Scientific Validity of Polygraph Testing: A Research Review and Evaluation, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, November 1983. An excellent critical study of polygraph techniques, applications, countermeasures, and more.
- Polygraphs and Security, A Study by a Subpanel of Sandia's Senior Scientists and Engineers, Sandia National Laboratories, October 21, 1999. "We believe that if polygraph testing is implemented by DOE, national security is likely to decrease."
- United States v. Scheffer, Supreme Court of the United States, 1998. "There is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner's conclusion is accurate, because certain doubts and uncertainties plague even the best polygraph exams."
- Can We Trust Counterintelligence Polygraph Tests? by Vance MacLaren, Polygraph, 29, 2. "Current polygraph screening procedures make a valuable contribution to the maintenance of national security."
- Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Accuracy Rates Obtained Using the Test for Espionage and Sabotage: A Replication (1.3 MB, PDF), Department of Defense Polygraph Institute Report No. DoDPI97-P-0009, 1997. Provides background on one of the most widely used polygraph examination formats. Appendix I (Eye) explains in some detail how the examiner conducts the TES polygraph examination from beginning to end. This information will be of particular interest to those facing polygraph screening.
- Joint Security Commission Report on the Polygraph, an excerpt from Redefining Security, 1994, provides a cautious endorsement of polygraph testing. A stronger endorsement appears in a separateStatement of Commissioner Anthony A. Lapham.
- Statement of Steven Aftergood on the Proposed DOE Polygraph Policy, September 22, 1999. "If it is imposed against the will of the affected employees, polygraph testing could actually damage the national security that it is intended to protect."
- A Critique of the New DOE Polygraph Policy by James L. Munroe, Los Alamos, New Mexico, December 1999. A Los Alamos employee blasts the new DOE rule as "a fearful and Orwellian document."
- The North American Polygraph as Entrails Reading: Some Home Truths and Practical Advice to Potential Users and Victims by John J. Furedy, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto. A skeptical commentary and warning about polygraph testing.
- A Comparison of Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Accuracy Rates Obtained Using the Counterintelligence Scope Polygraph and the Test for Espionage and Sabotage Question Formats, Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, June 1995. A study of the accuracy rates for several polygraph exam formats, including the Test for Espionage and Sabotage (TES) to be used at the Department of Energy.
- Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Accuracy Rates Obtained Using the Test for Espionage and Sabotage, Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, August 1995. Further investigation of accuracy rates in the TES polygraph exam.
- An Assessment of Lie Detection Capability (declassified version) by Jesse Orlansky, Institute for Defense Analyses, July 1964
- "Issues Surrounding the Use of Polygraphs"
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
April 25, 2001
- Statement of Chairman Orrin G. Hatch
- Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy
- Mike Capps, Deputy Director for Developmental Programs, Defense Security Service, Alexandria, VA
- Dr. William Iacono, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
- Jeffrey H. Smith, Esq., Partner, Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C.
- Mark S. Zaid, Esq., Lobel, Novins & LaMont, Washington, D.C.
- Richard Keifer, President, American Polygraph Association, Apopka, FL
- George W. Maschke, AntiPolygraph.org (submitted for the record)
- DOE Proposed Rulemaking on Polygraph Policy, published in the Federal Register, April 14, 2003.
- Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual on Polygraph Testing, 12 FAM 251, Polygraph Policy
- Counterintelligence Polygraph Program at DOE, section 3154 of Public Law 106-65, the Defense Authorization Act for FY 2000. Requires polygraph testing of "covered persons" who have access to high-risk programs.
- DOE Polygraph Examination Regulation; Final Rule, Federal Register, December 17, 1999. "The regulation describes the categories of individuals who will be eligible for polygraph testing and controls for the use of such testing and for prevention of unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of individuals."
- DOE Counterintelligence Polygraph Implementation Plan, memorandum from Energy Secretary Richardson, December 13, 1999. "This implementation plan identifies the specific positions within the eight counterintelligence categories that will be polygraphed."
- Use of Polygraph Examinations, DOE Notice 472.2, March 1999. "This Notice provides policy on the voluntary use of polygraph examinations by the Department of Energy (DOE), listing the circumstances under which these examinations may be used, establishing controls for their use and...."
- DoD Directive 5210.48, Department of Defense Polygraph Program, December 24, 1984.
- DoD Directive 5200.32, Department of Defense Security Countermeasures (SCM) and Polygraph Education, Training, and Program Support, February 26, 1996.
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, 29 US Code, Chapter 22. This legislation prohibits most private sector employers from requiring their employees to submit to polygraph testing. Government employees and certain contractors lack equivalent protection.
- Domenici Wants NAS to Weigh Polygraph Benefits to Lab Security, press release, January 26, 2001. "Senator Pete Domenici today reiterated his concerns that polygraph tests mandated as a means of improving security at the Energy Department’s national laboratories may ultimately be counterproductive."
- National Academy Begins Review of Polygraph Validity, January 2001 (offsite). The 18 month review, which was proposed by Sen. Jeff Bingaman and funded by the Department of Energy, will examine the controversial use of polygraph testing for personnel security screening. And it "will include what is known about the effect of medications, sleep deprivation, and illnesses on the physiological responses measured."
- The Truth About Polygraphs? by Vernon Loeb, Washington Post online, December 8, 2000 (offsite).
- DoD Seeks Contractors for Polygraph Validity Study, Commerce Business Daily, December 6, 2000 (offsite). "The objective is to test up to 100 volunteers over a two month period. The goal of this project is to manipulate volunteers into telling specific lies during polygraph examination to test the accuracy of the polygraph examination procedure."
- $860,000 DOE Study to Evaluate Polygraphs by Jennifer McKee, Albuquerque Journal, December 5, 2000. "The Department of Energy intends to sink almost a million dollars into an upcoming study to determine -- once and for all -- how well widespread lie detector tests work in preventing espionage."
- DOE Agrees to Fund Bingaman-Urged Polygraph Validity Study, press release, December 4, 2000. "The distinguished scientists and engineers who work at Sandia and Los Alamos deserve to know whether polygraphs produce valid results and this study will help make that determination."
- Polygraph Lawsuit Filed, March 15, 2000 (offsite). Plaintiffs, represented by Mark S. Zaid, challenge the use of the polygraph by the FBI, the DEA and the Secret Service. As a result of current policy, they argue, "innocent individuals are falsely labeled drug users, drug dealers, terrorists and/or spies without any reasonable opportunity to ever clear their name."
- DOE Polygraph Implementation Plan Announced, DOE press release, December 13, 1999. "Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson said he has significantly reduced the number of employees affected so that approximately 800 federal and contractor employees will be subjected to the polygraph test."
- Senate Calls for Study of Polygraph Validity, an amendment introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, October 7, 1999. "The National Institutes of Health should enter into appropriate arrangements with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive study and investigation into the scientific validity of polygraphy as a screening tool for federal and federal contractor personnel."
- Bingaman Amendments on Polygraph, September 30, 1999. Two proposed amendments offered by Senator Bingaman would assess the validity of polygraph testing for employee screening, and the potential use of countermeasures.
- Lawmaker Wants DOE to Abandon Expanded Polygraph Testing at Labs by Keith J. Costa, Inside the Pentagon, September 30, 1999. Calling the Energy Department's plans to expand polygraph testing at the agency nuclear labs "overly broad," Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) calls for a moratorium on polygraph tests.
- Rep. Ellen Tauscher Calls for Moratorium on Expanded Polygraph Testing at Nuclear Labs, letter to Energy Secretary Richardson, September 28, 1999. "I urge you to enact a complete moratorium on all polygraph tests until an acceptable, limited polygraph plan is developed and vetted."
- Remarks on Polygraph Testing by Senator Jeff Bingaman, September 22, 1999. "The proposed DOE rule on polygraphs ... is not based on sound science and does not represent reasoned decision making, in my view."
- DOE Lie-detector Tests for Employees Criticized by Katy Saldarini, Government Executive, September 22, 1999. Critics "say a new policy requiring employees of the nation's nuclear weapons complex to submit to lie-detector tests is a misguided approach that could damage, rather than protect, national security."
- Senate Intel Committee Calls for "Alternatives" to Polygraph Testing, Senate Report 106-48, May 1999 (excerpt). "Given the potential unreliability of the polygraph system, the Committee believes that alternatives to the polygraph should be explored."
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Custodial torture ranging from assault of various types to death by the police for extortion of confessions and imputation of evidence are not uncommon. Such a method of investigation and detection of a crime, in the backdrop of expanding idea of ‘humane’ administration of criminal justice, not only disregards human rights of an individual and thereby undermines his dignity but also exposes him to unwarranted violence and torture by those who are expected to ‘protect’ him.
Custodial torture is universally held as one of the cruellest forms of human rights abuse. The Constitution of India, the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the United Nations forbid it. But the police across the country defy these institutions. Therefore, there is a need to strike a balance between the individual human rights and societal interests in combating crime by using a realistic approach.
Custodial Torture and Death-The Current Status:
The World Medical Association, in its Tokyo Declaration, 1975, defined "torture" as
"the deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons, acting alone or on the orders of any authority to force another person to yield information, to make a confession or for any other reason".
Custodial torture, often known as extra-judicial executions has been on a rise in India especially between 2002 and 2007. According to Asian Centre for Human Rights, the nationwide figures are four custodial deaths per day. There have been 7468 reported custodial deaths in this five year period. However, the severity of the torture in India is far worse than statistics suggest. This is because victims rarely report cases against the police due to fear of reprisals. More than half the cases of custodial torture are not even reported.
While award of compensation in 684 cases of custodial violence was given by the National Human Rights Commission alone from 1994 to 2007, conviction of only seven police personnel in 2004 and 2005 took place as against these overwhelming figures of custodial torture and subsequent deaths. This has led to a deep concern among the authorities.
For instance, the recent cases of custodial killings reported from the state of Gujarat show a consistent and alarming pattern of tolerance of the use of torture by the government and promotion of it as if it is an essential element of law enforcement and investigation of crime. In Gujarat, the interrogation centres -- often torture chambers -- of the state police have been functioning in full public view. The suspects are brought in, kept in illegal detention and tortured as part of questioning and later killed and declared as killed in encounter. This procedure is public knowledge, yet no one dares to challenge it. Officers, right from the top are involved in this endeavour.
In a proceeding in the Supreme Court regarding this, the state government admitted in court that it was aware of the existence of the interrogation and torture centres. The government also admitted that in several cases the officers might have also killed the witnesses of arrest and detention in order to avoid questions at a later stage. The Gujarat experience, while being a shocking revelation of the state of policing in that state is also the proof that the public could be forced to silence, if the state so requires, by imparting fear.
Interrogation centers in India are run in the cover of prevention of terrorist activities. Interrogation centers are not limited to the state of Gujarat. In several other states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan the state governments run similar centres. In some states these centres are run in the name of anti-naxalite action.
In the state of Chhattisgarh for example, the naxalite and anti-naxalite activity has killed hundreds of innocent people. Use of brute force by the state and non-state actors irreparably destroys the social fabric. Besides promoting private armed groups, the state has also pressed into use questionable legislations like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005. This statute is so loosely worded that anyone could be charged for a crime in this law. Many accepted legal norms in criminal law like non-retroactivity is negated in this statute.
Violence is used widely with impunity in the North-Eastern states. The state of Manipur in particular, is completely militarised. The paramilitary and the army detachments stationed in that state is notorious for the use of torture and violence as the only tool for investigation. Cases reported from Manipur, are mostly involving the armed forces, the Assam Rifles in particular.
Administrative neglect promoting the use of torture is misused by the police and other law enforcement agencies as an excuse for demanding bribe and for not doing their job according to the law. Continuing neglect by the government has also considerably reduced the morale of the law enforcement agencies. Rather than being considered as an essential state service police and other law enforcement agencies are viewed as state sponsored terror agencies mostly filled with criminals.
Remedies Against Custodial Torture:
There are two approaches with respect to the remedies provided for against custodial torture and subsequent death as well. These two approaches are – legal regime and judicial precedents. They can be explained as follows:
It has been held in a catena of judgements that just because a person is in police custody or detained or under arrest, does not deprive of him of his basic fundamental rights and its violation empowers the person to move the Supreme Court under Article 32 of theConstitution of India. Detention does not deprive one of his fundamental rights. They don’t flee the persons as he enters the prison although they may suffer shrinkage necessitated by incarceration. However, the extent of shrinkage can and should never reach the stage of torture in custody of such a nature that the persons are reduced to a mere animal existence.
Article 20 of the Constitution of India:
Article 20 primarily gives a person the rights against conviction of offences. These include the principle of non-retroactivity of penal laws (Nullum crimen sine lege) i.e. ex-post facto laws thereby making it a violation of the persons fundamental rights if attempts are made to convict him and torture him as per some statute. Article 20 also protects against double jeopardy (Nemo debet pro eadem causa bis vexari). This Article most importantly protects a person from self-incrimination. The police subject a person to brutal and continuous torture to make him confess to a crime even if he has not committed the same.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India:
This article has been understood in the Indian judiciary to protect the right to be free from torture. This view is held because the right to life is more than a simple right to live an animalistic existence. The expression "life or personal liberty" in Article 21 includes a guarantee against torture and assault even by the State and its functionaries to a person who is taken in custody and no sovereign immunity can be pleaded against the liability of the State arising due to such criminal use of force over the captive person.
Article 22 provides four basic fundamental rights with respect to conviction. These include being informed of the grounds of arrest, to be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice, preventive detention laws and production before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest of the person. Thus, these provisions are designed to ensure that a person is not subjected to any ill-treatment that is devoid of statutory backing or surpasses prescribed excesses.
Other Statutory Safeguards:
Indian Evidence Act, 1872:
A confession to police officer cannot be proved as against a person accused of any offence (Sec. 25 Evidence Act) and confession caused by threats from a person in authority in order to avoid any evil of a temporal nature would be irrelevant in criminal proceedings as, inter-alia, provided in Sec. 24. Thus, even though custodial torture is not expressly prohibited by law in India, the evidence collected by illegal means, including torture is not accepted in courts.
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973:
Sec. 46 and 49 of the Code protect those under custody from torture who are not accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life and also during escape. Sec. 50-56 are in consonance with Article 22. Sec. 54 of the Code is a provision that to a significant extent corresponds to any infliction of custodial torture and violence. According to it, when an allegation of ill-treatment is made by a person in custody, the Magistrate is then and there required to examine his body and shall place on record the result of his examination and reasons therefore. It gives them the right to bring to the Court’s notice any torture or assault they may have been subjected to and have themselves examined by a medical practitioner on their own request. A compensatory mechanism has also been used by courts. When the Magistrate does not follow procedure with respect to entertaining complaint of custodial torture, it calls for interference by the High Court under Sec. 482 of the Code.
Sections 7 and 29 of the Act provide for dismissal, penalty or suspension of police officers who are negligent in the discharge of their duties or unfit to perform the same. This can be seen in the light of the police officers violating various constitutional and statutory safeguards along with guidelines given in D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal.
After the controversial Mathura Rape case, an amendment was brought about in Sec. 376 of the IPC. Sec. 376(1)(b) penalises custodial rape committed by police officers. This was a welcome change made to the section in question as it finally condemns the acts of police officers who take advantage of their authority.
Sections 330, 331, 342 and 348 of the IPC have ostensibly been designed to deter a police officer, who is empowered to arrest a person and to interrogate him during investigation of an offence from resorting to third degree methods causing ‘torture’.
The Supreme Court is heralded as a beacon of rights against torture. Indeed, since the 1990s, the Supreme Court has come up with two innovative ways of dealing with custodial torture and custodial death cases namely, the right to compensation for custodial death and torture and the formulation of custody jurisprudence.
The case of Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra has provided for guidelines on rights of the arrested persons especially women. The court in this case also emphasised on the need for Magistrates to inform all arrested persons of their rights. Guidelines were also given by the Supreme Court in D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal with respect to rights of arrested persons. The most significant one being the arrestee should be subjected to medical examination every 48 hours during his detention by a doctor from the approved panel of doctors and copies of all prescribed documents should be sent to the concerned Magistrates. Also, the arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation.
It has been recommended in the 177th Law Commission Report by the 16th Law Commission that requisite amendments should be brought about in the Code of Criminal Procedure making it the duty of the police officers in whose custody there are arrested persons that they should ensure their safety and holding them responsible for failure of the same. Thirty years hence, this amendment has still not been incorporated. The presence of an advocate during interrogation of the arrested person is also a recommendation that has been made. The 185th Law Commission Report also makes recommendation regarding rights of arrested persons with respect to the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which are with respect to s. 27. The Malimath Committee Report has also emphasised on the need for codification of the rights of the arrested persons.
The very ideas of a human being in custody save for protection and nurturing is an anathema to human existence. The word custody implies guardianship and protective care. Even when applied to indicate arrest or incarceration, it does not carry any sinister symptoms of violence during custody.
In a complaint of custodial torture, the court should not adopt a casual approach to it on the ground that it has been made by a habitual offender. It is a perennial problem of statecraft. It therefore, becomes imperative to evolve a system of state governance that allows the police to effectively maintain law and order and to prevent and detect the commission of a crime without jeopardizing legal rights; privileges and claims of laymen. Such a system obviously warrants appropriate control over the police in order to discourage them from exercising their power in a capricious manner. Similarly, an effective institutional grievance-redressal mechanism to vindicate ‘police excesses’ is also the need of the hour.
As held by the Supreme Court, "custodial torture" is a naked violation of human dignity and a degradation which destroys, to a very large extent human personality.
First, custodial torture must be made a crime. This could be brought in by way of a special law. Secondly, many cases of custodial torture could be prevented if law-enforcing agencies followed the existing laws relating to arrest and detention. The rules established by the Supreme Court--though not a complete remedy--should be applied without failure. Those who fail to comply must be prosecuted.
Thirdly, the public--and especially concerned professional groups, including rights groups and the media--must closely monitor police practices to see that government promises are upheld. The political opposition must also see to it that the Director General of Police submits a report to the legislative assembly, and an investigative report, on every case of custodial death and torture.
Fourthly, the central government should be urged to ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The government has failed to ratify the treaty on spurious grounds that existing laws are good enough to prevent custodial torture which is evidently not the case. Were that the case, 60 years after independence and despite numerous concerns and guidelines issued by courts all over India, torture would not persist unabated as it does today.