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SC: DNA test accurate proof in parenthood dispute

Holding DNA test as the accurate proof in a dispute over the parenthood of a child, the Supreme Court has said a person cannot be compelled to pay maintenance to such a child.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2014 23:46 IST
Bhadra Sinha

Holding DNA test as the accurate proof in a dispute over the parenthood of a child, the Supreme Court has said a person cannot be compelled to pay maintenance to such a child.

A bench of justice CK Prasad and justice JS Khehar held the proof based on scientific advancement “must prevail” over the conclusive proof envisaged under law.

It said DNA test was accurate to ascertain the parenthood of a person.

“In our opinion, when there is a conflict between a conclusive proof envisaged under law and a proof based on scientific advancement accepted by the world community to be correct, the latter must prevail over the former,” the bench said.

It emphasised that the result of DNA test was said to be scientifically accurate and it could not “compel” a man to bear the fatherhood of a child when the scientific reports prove to the contrary.

The SC gave its order on a petition by a man who moved the top court against a high court order directing him to pay Rs 900 per month to his wife and Rs 500 to her daughter after holding him to be the child’s father.

The petitioner denied that the girl was his daughter and claimed he had no physical relationship with his wife prior to her birth. At his request SC had ordered twice DNA test of the man along with the child to ascertain her fatherhood. Both the tests supported the man’s claim.

“It is clear that the appellant (man) is not the biological father of the girl-child. The husband’s plea that he had no access to the wife when the child was begotten stands proved by the DNA test report and in the face of it, we cannot compel the appellant to bear the fatherhood of a child when the scientific reports prove to the contrary,” the court said.

“We are conscious that an innocent child may not be bastardized as the marriage between her mother and father was subsisting at the time of her birth but in view of the DNA test reports and what we have observed above, we cannot forestall the consequence. It is denying the truth. 'Truth must triumph' is the hallmark of justice,” the court held.