Results of Narco-Analysis and brain mapping in the Sister Abhaya murder case cannot be used in evidence, says Kerala HC

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The Kerala HC opined that results of brain mapping and Narco-Analysis examined on the accused cannot be used as a shred of evidence. The bench followed the principle used in the case of Selvi & Ors. v. The State of Karnataka (2010) 7 SCC 263, it was held by the court that results of scientific results carried with the consent of the accused in purpose of discovery of facts, following the Section 27 of The Evidence Act was based on the scope and constitutionally guaranteed for fundamental rights as per Article 20(3) of The Constitution of India. The bench which heard the petition of Sister Sephy and Father Thomas Kottoor was Justice Alexander Thomas, who noted that the celebrated case of Nandini Satpathy v. P.L Dani & Ors. was reported in 1978 (2) SCC 424 where it is held “accused of an offense” occurred in Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India which includes a person, who is formally addressed in the police diary and also a suspect. Whereas, Justice V.R Krishna Iyer held in that case, “is a human article, a guarantee of dignity and integrity and inviolability of the person and refusal to convert an adversary system into an inquisitorial scheme in the antagonistic antechamber of a police station and the long run, that investigation is best which uses stratagems least, that policeman deserves respect who gives his fists rest and his wits restlessness. The police are part of us and must rise in people’s esteem through a firm and friendly, not foul and sneaky strategy”.

The court considered the petition by Sister Sephy and Father Thomas Kottoor under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, seeking to quash an order of the Special CBI Court of Thiruvanthapuram which rejected their prayer by stopping the prosecution to summon the officers who had administered tests to be witnesses in the case. The Senior Advocates representing the accused submitted the bench if allowing evidence which was recorded, will be a violation of Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India.

Later, the bench observed that rejection of plea on untenable grounds would amount to a violation of due process which needs to adhere by the organs of the State including Judiciary. Consequently, it made admissible to use the results of Brain-Mapping & Narco-Analysis for purposes of section 27 of Evidence Act.


(i) Sister Abhaya Murder took place in the year 1992 on March 27.

(ii) The probe revealed two men who are the accused used to indulge in the habit of making nocturnal visits in the Church.

(iii) Sister Sephy and two fathers hit Sister Abhaya with a blunt weapon and dumped her body in the well.

(iv)Witnesses to the case have changed their statements in the past.

(v) The High Court had dismissed the name of the former crime branch from the list of accused in the case.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


(i) Live Law. in, Results Of Even Voluntary Narco-Analysis & Brain Mapping Tests Admissible Only For Purposes Of Sec 27 Evidence Act: Kerala HC

(ii) The News Minute, Sister Abhaya murder case: Kerala HC refuses to stay trial on the accused priest and nun

Asif Iqbal
I am pursuing my integrated five years bachelors of law degree from Centre for Juridical Studies, Dibrugarh University. I do have an interest in reading books written by Arundhati Roy, Ashwini Sanghi, Ramachandra Guha and others. Any personality whom I like is Karl Marx and Che Guevara, as latter did write the book “Motor Cycle diaries” which is based on upon his journey on a bike with his friend. Whereas I do like to binge-watch series and out of those which I have seen till now are two and a half men, Suits, Sherlock and Friends to name a few. Apart from that, I do have an interest in writing articles and stories along with being a part of any discussions or debates.