To remain silent is fundamental right, court says while denying nod for subjecting train firing accused to narco tests

 A magistrate’s court here which denied permission for subjecting dismissed RPF constable Chetansinh Chaudhary, accused of shooting four persons dead on a moving train, to narco tests has said in its reasoning that to remain silent is an accused person’s fundamental right.

An accused can not be forced to undergo such tests only for the sake of “smooth investigation,” the court said in the order passed on August 11. The full order became available on Friday.

The Government Railway Police (GRP) had sought the Borivali magistrate court’s nod for subjecting Chaudhary to narco tests, brain mapping and polygraph.

He is currently in judicial custody, lodged in a jail in neighboring Thane district.

The prosecution had said that he was accused of committing a serious offence and to complete the investigation, narco and other tests were necessary.

Chaudhary’s lawyers Surendra Landage, Amit Mishra and Jaywant Patil opposed the application, saying that narco tests are a violation of the fundamental rights and cannot be conducted if an accused does not consent to undergoing them.

The court said in the order that the accused was, admittedly, arrested in connection with a heinous crime.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgement, the magistrate noted, “If we minutely go through the entire judgment, it clearly reveals that only in external circumstances, that too with the consent of the accused, a test can be conducted. But, there is no room for compelling the accused to go for a test without his content. Since the accused is not ready to face such tests, to protect his fundamental rights, the application deserves to be rejected.”

The court further said that to remain silent is a fundamental right of an accused.

“In my opinion, only for the smooth investigation the permission cannot be granted,” the court added.

The grisly incident took place on July 31 aboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express near Palghar railway station in Maharashtra.

Chaudhary (34) allegedly shot dead his superior officer, RPF Assistant Sub-Inspector Tika Ram Meena, and three passengers.

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