Selvi v. State of
The Constitutional Law Society of NUJS conducted a panel discussion on 23rd of this month on three aspects of this decision; constitutional, procedural and evidence law and national security dimensions. I had occasion to present certain constitutional issues of the case and open the floor for discussion. This gave me a chance to read the case closely to appreciate some of its finer points which I presume have not got much attention of Constitutional Scholars.
The debate about this judgment so far has been mainly surrounded on the concerns of the national security as to how the now disallowed Narcoanalysis, Polygraph Test and BEAP could have helped to prevent and detect terrorist activities. For many, this is a chance lost to diffuse the ‘ticking bombs.’
It was surprising to find students’ responses that perceive liberty and security as binary opposites. It was disheartening to hear them arguing for giving up their liberties for apparent threats against security. Was wondering whether paranoia has struck that hard on this generation!
Anyway, I am not at it specifically. The case to me gave some interesting vantage points. Ultimately, the court held that compulsory brain-mapping and polygraph tests and narcoanalysis were in violation of Articles 20(3) and 21 of the Constitution. The highlights of the case, for me, are the following
- Radiation of constitutional rights into statutes, including procedural laws
- Reiteration of Maneka position that rights are not islands. The impugned tests have to pass not only the test of Art. 20 but of Art. 21
- The explicit use of substantive due process in the reasoning
- Interpretative tools used; the court has liberally quoted and allowed to be persuaded by foreign judgments. Quoted even a Israeli Supreme Court Decision
- Debunking the notion that security is at the cost liberty
To be Contd...