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9th October Current Affairs

Polygraph & Narco analysis test

Polygraph Test:

It is based on the physiological responses given by the accused and is used to assess if a person is lying or not.

These physiological responses include variations in blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, change in sweat glands activity, blood flow, etc.

They are captured through instruments like cardio cuffs or sensitive electrodes that are attached to the person.

A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude if a person is telling the truth or deceiving or uncertain.

Narco Analysis:

Narco analysis test involves injection of a drug called ‘sodium pentothal’ that induces a hypnotic or sedated state in the accused that neutralizes their imagination.

It is expected to make them divulge information that is true.

The drug is also referred to as truth serum and is used in large doses as anaesthesia during surgery.

Legal implications:

In Selvi vs State of Kerala, Supreme Court ruled that no lie Detector test should be administered except on the consent of the accused.

Forcing an individual to these tests amounts to unwarranted intrusion into personal liberty.

Court also examined the scope of article 20(3), the right against self-incrimination that states that no accused can be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Scope of investigating agencies:

The law enforcing authorities need to abide by the guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission for administering polygraph tests on an accused.

The results of the test cannot be considered as confessions as a person in a drug induced state cannot exercise choice in answering questions.

But the information or material subsequently discovered during such a process can be admitted as evidence in the court.

These provisions are in line with the International norms on human rights, the right to fair trial and the right against self-incrimination under article 20 of the constitution.

Time Use Survey

In News:

The National Statistical Office (NSO), under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released its first time use survey conducted between January to December 2019.

Details:

The primary objective is to measure the participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.

The unpaid activities include caregiving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service and it also includes information on time spent on learning, socializing, leisure activities etc.

It found that 53% people were engaged in unpaid domestic services of which 81% were females in rural areas, while in urban areas it was 79%.

The study found that 57% of males were engaged in employment and related activities, while it was 18% for females.

Chardham Project

In News:

A Supreme Court-appointed expert committee has alleged violations of the court orders in the execution of the Chardham road project.

What was the Court ruling?

A controversial aspect was the proposed width of the two-lane highways envisaged.

The top court ruled last month that a width of 5.5 metre be enforced as it was in conformity with a 2018 recommendation of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) for mountain roads.

What is Chardham Project?

The project comprises improvement as well as the development of 889 km length of national highways.

The project will connect Badrinath Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

New rules for postal ballot

In News:

EC announces new rules for postal ballot.

Details:

The rules aim to make it more convenient for those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities to vote.

New rules announced:

The returning officer would deploy polling teams, which will deliver and collect the postal ballot on pre-informed dates and then deposit it with the returning officer.

The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those aged above 80 and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station.

What is postal voting?

A restricted set of voters can exercise postal voting. Through this facility, a voter can cast her vote remotely by recording her preference on the ballot paper and sending it back to the election officer before counting.

Who else can avail this facility?

Members of the armed forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force, members of the armed police force of a state (serving outside the state), government employees posted outside India and their spouses are entitled to vote only by post.

The exception to the above-mentioned category of voters is provided under Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Representation of the People Act, 1951:

This act provides for the actual conduct of elections in India. It deals with the following matters:

  • Details like Qualification and Disqualification of members of both the Houses of Parliament and the State Legislatures,
  • Administrative machinery for conducting elections,
  • Registration of Political parties,
  • Conduct of Elections,
  • Election Disputes,
  • Corrupt practices & Electoral offences, &
  • By-elections.

What is a narco test?

In News:

Uttar Pradesh government is planning to subject the Hathras rape and murder victim’s family members to narco tests.

What are the concerns?

The consequences of such tests on “individuals from weaker sections of society who are unaware of their fundamental rights and unable to afford legal advice” can be devastating.

It may involve future abuse, harassment and surveillance, even leakage of the video material to the Press for a “trial by media.”

Such tests are an affront to human dignity and liberty, and have long-lasting effects.

What are narco test?

Narco test involves the injection of a drug, sodium pentothal, which induces a hypnotic or sedated state in which the subject’s imagination is neutralised, and they are expected to divulge true information.

The drug, referred to as “truth serum” in this context, was used in larger doses as anaesthesia during surgery, and is said to have been used during World War II for intelligence operations.

How is it different from Polygraph test?

A polygraph test is based on the assumption that physiological responses that are triggered when a person is lying are different from what they would be otherwise.

Instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes are attached to the person, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, change in sweat gland activity, blood flow, etc., are measured as questions are put to them.

A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude whether the person is telling the truth, is deceiving, or is uncertain.

Are Indian investigators allowed to put suspects through these tests?

In Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr (2010), a Supreme Court ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered “except on the basis of consent of the accused”.

It also said the ‘Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused’ published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000, must be strictly followed.

The court took into consideration international norms on human rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.