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Can Judiciary force a Citizen to undergo Medical Test violating his personal liberty?

May,3,2017:

Apex Court had held that no individual should be forcibly subjected to Medical Tests, in the name of investigation or otherwise.

Forced Medical Test
Forced Medical Test

Supreme Court’s direction for medical examination of Calcutta HC judge Justice C S Karnan created a flutter among lawyer community which vigorously debated whether Court could force a person to undergo such a test.

This issue was settled by three-judge bench in matrimonial dispute on March 28, 2003 in Sharda v. Dharampal.

An HC had ordered woman to undergo medical test as her husband had proposed so in seeking divorce on grounds of mental instability.

The three-judge bench had expounded that, “A matrimonial court has power to order a person to undergo the medical test. Passing of such an order by Court would not be in violation of right to personal liberty under the Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

The Bench further enunciated that Court should exercise such a power if applicant has a strong prima facie case and there is sufficient material before Court. If despite the order of Court, respondent refuses to submit himself to medical examination, Court will be entitled to draw an adverse inference against him.”

However, Selvi v. State of Karnataka, Supreme Court had examined validity of the polygraph and the narco-analysis test forced on accused.

Apex Court had expounded that, “We hold that no individual should be forcibly subjected to any of techniques in question, whether in the context of the investigation in the criminal cases or otherwise. Doing so would amount to unwarranted intrusion into the personal liberty.

Supreme Court further enunciated that,”However, we do leave room for the voluntary administration of impugned techniques in context of criminal justice, provided that the certain safeguards are in place. Even when subject has given the consent to undergo any of these tests, test results by themselves cannot be admitted as the evidence because subject does not exercise conscious control over the responses during administration of test.”

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