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Accused can't be subjected to voice test in absence of rules: Guj HC

In a judgement that can have far-reaching implications, the Gujarat High Court has ruled that an accused cannot be subjected to voice spectrography test in absence of any provision for it.

The court also directed the state to immediatelyframe rules in this regard if it wants to subject an accused for voice spectrography tests.

Justice J B Pardiwala held that "in the absence of any provision empowering the police officer or the court, it is not permissible to subject an accused to the voice spectrography test."

The ruling implies that a sting operation or telephone conversation recording cannot be considered as evidence against the accused, if he denies to undergo a voice spectrography test.

The matter pertains to petitioner Natvarlal Devani, who worked as the superintendent of the prohibition and excise directorate in Kutch district.

Devani had demanded Rs 4,000 as bribe for renewing liquor permit of a complainant. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) sleuths nabbed him and demanded his voice spectrography test to establish his involvement based on telephonic conversations.

While rejecting voice spectrography test for the accused, the court added that the state government is empowered to frame rules including the test, as a nature of "measurements" under Evidence Act, 1920. "The state government should consider framing appropriate rules in this regard," Pardiwala said in the order.
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