HC tells man to undergo paternity test
MUMBAI: Declaring that a child’s welfare requires its paternity to be established, the Bombay high court has given the nod for an Aurangabad resident to undergo a DNA test.
“In modern society, one may get fame, but it is very difficult, yet essential, to get the father’s name, which can decide one’s status in society,” said Justice A V Potdar. The high court set aside a sessions court order that said that no person could be compelled to give his blood sample for analysis and DNA test.
Anil Patil (32) is fighting a legal battle with his “wife” Smita. While she claims that Anil married her in 2001 and they have a seven-year-old son, he denies it. Initially, Anil offered to undergo a DNA paternity test if Smita bore the expenses. Subsequently, he challenged a magistrate’s court’s order asking him to undergo the paternity test before the sessions court, saying that it was a violation of his fundamental right to privacy.
“The question is only about the welfare of the child and it depends upon the results of the DNA test as to whether he will get the name of his father and consequently, the maintenance,” said Justice Potdar. The judge referred to a Supreme Court judgment which ruled that medical examination of the party to a matrimonial litigation cannot be held to be a violation of one’s right to privacy.
Justice Potdar claimed that the issue before it was of the child. “Here the question is about the paramount consideration of the welfare of the child and to decide (his) status,” said the judge, adding that in light of the consent given earlier by Anil for a DNA test, “It cannot be said that it would amount to compel him to face the DNA test.” The court agreed that under the provision, both a legitimate as well as an illegitimate child could claim maintenance.
Smita divorced her first husband in 2000 and said she married Anil in 2001. Five years later, Smita moved a magistrate’s court under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code claiming maintenance from Anil for herself and their son. She claimed that Anil had neglected and failed to maintain them. Anil refuted the allegations, saying he was neither married to Smita and nor was he the father of her son. The magistrate’s court, while ordering the paternity test, had asked Smita to deposit Rs 14,000 towards the DNA test and travel expenses for Anil. Anil subsequently challenged the order before the sessions court, which ruled in his favour. Smita then filed an appeal before the high court.
(Names of the couple have been changed to protect their identity).