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Forget the uniform, focus on power

The constitutional principle against self-incrimination is a vital and crucial element for society

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Somasekhar Sundaresan
An integral and foundational feature of the law in India is that no one accused of an offence can be compelled to be a witness against oneself — it is enshrined in the Constitution, in a portion that is held to be a basic foundational feature that cannot be altered. Yet, repeated attempts to push the envelope have been made over the decades. In a clear, emphatic and reasoned ruling, the Supreme Court in a majority judgment, has struck down the ability to use as evidence, confessions extracted by officers under the narcotics law.

Typically, the assault on the constitutional principle
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First Published: Nov 18 2020 | 12:28 AM IST

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