According to latest news, a local Haryana court has allowed polygraph (lie-detector) test on both 3 boys accused of molestation and the accusers — Rohtak sister duo.
Consent had been sought from the victims to conduct lie-detector test on them, to which they agreed, the victims’ lawyer told reporters. He said SIT’s investigating officer Manjeet Singh had sought the consent from the victims.
Contrary to people’s opinion that such exercises will bring out the truth quickly into the open, it is an exercise in frustrating the easier and true course of investigation and justice: use information given by eye-witnesses. When there were eye-witnesses who said in front of cameras for anyone who cared that they did not see any molestation happening, and the fight started over seats, and the girls were the aggressors; why the hell anyone needs to conduct polygraph tests? If there is a case of murder which happened and 5 people saw it with their eyes, and their statements are very consistent, do you conduct polygraph tests of everyone present on the scene to find out who did the murder? Or give primary weightage to the eye-witnesses’ account?
Polygraph (lie-detector) tests are unreliable
Polygraph tests are not reliable and nowhere in the world their results can be used as a primary evidence to convict anyone. Not only that, they are against Article 20(3) of Indian constitution as per SC judgment earlier:
“We are of the considered opinion that no individual can be forced and subjected to such techniques involuntarily, and by doing so it amounts to unwarranted intrusion of personal liberty,” a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.
The apex court said that involuntarily subjecting an accused, a suspect or a witness to such techniques violates Article 20 (3) of the Constitution, which prohibits self-incrimination.
Some people may argue that it can help quickly deliver justice. I think in Aarushi (and Hemraj) murder case, there was evidence like blood all over the place, but the super-investigation agencies in India including CBI could not find anything even after employing all these ‘advanced’ techniques. When you mess up with the basic evidence, then there is nothing much to be gained by employing such secondary techniques.
Upon reading the information about polygraph tests at Wikipedia, the most interesting thing was that people who were teaching how to pass in lie-detector tests are being prosecuted for obstructing justice! If these tests were reliable, then there was no way anyone could be taught to beat them! What’s the use of a lie-detector test if someone can be trained on how to beat them.
By August 2013 the U.S. federal government had begun indicting individuals who stated that they were teaching methods on how to defeat a polygraph test. It investigated Doug Williams, a former police officer from Oklahoma City who conducted courses on how to defeat a polygraph test. Doug Williams stated emphatically that he had never done anything wrong, and he was never arrested, charged or indicted for any crime. A sting was conducted on Chad Dixon, a former little league coach in Indiana who taught methods on how to beat a polygraph tests to up to 100 people throughout the U.S., resulted in him pleading guilty to charges of obstruction and wire fraud. In 2013 federal prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Dixon to one year and nine months, saying that Dixon had “career of criminal deceit” and taught how to defeat a polygraph to applicants to law enforcement jobs, employees of intelligence services, and child molesters. He received an eight month sentence
Also, high reliance on polygraph tests is mostly an American phenomenon. It was amusing to read statement by ex-CIA director again in Wikipedia article that East Europeans and Asians can beat the polygraph test because unlike Americans, they probably are not raised to tell the truth!
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In 1978 Richard Helms, the 8th Director of Central Intelligence, stated that:
“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 we are lying. But we find a lot of Europeans and Asiatics [who] can handle that polygraph without a blip, and you know they are lying and you have evidence that they are lying.”
Susan McCarthy of Salon said in 2000 that “The polygraph is an American phenomenon, with limited use in a few countries, such as Canada, Israel and Japan”
So we are in India, part of Asia, not known highly for telling truth, and known for high levels of corruption at all levels of society; and we want to rely on polygraph tests to find the truth!
The investigation has been fixed.