No DNA test of children to prove decades-old case of adultery: Kerala HC
The 77-year-old petitioner had alleged that his wife, 68, had told him in front of the man, with whom she was in an adulterous relationship, that the three children born in the wedlock were not with him but with her paramour.Updated: Jun 19, 2018 22:51 IST
Press Trust of India, Kochi
A DNA test cannot be ordered as a shortcut to establish adultery a woman may have committed decades ago, the Kerala high court has ruled, rejecting a 77-year-old man’s plea for divorce from his wife aged 68.
A division bench of the high court in Kochi held that had the paternity of children been under dispute, the DNA test might have been the “only safe method”, but it was not so in the case.
“In the case of three major children, after the passage of a long time, the DNA test cannot be used as a short cut to establish infidelity that might have occurred decades ago,” justices V Chitambaresh and K P Jothindranath said in a recent judgement.
The petitioner had alleged that his wife had told him in front of the man, with whom she was in an adulterous relationship, that the three children born in the wedlock were not with him but with her paramour.
The man had then moved the family court for divorce and sought its directive for conducting a DNA test of his children. He moved the high court in appeal after the family court rejected his plea.
“When the children are major, surely they cannot be compelled to give blood samples in a civil proceeding where they were not parties.
“The case projected by the petitioner seems to be that if the DNA test proves that the petitioner is not the biological father of the said three children, the corollary is that the wife committed infidelity and there is adultery,” the court noted.
The court said even an order to undergo the DNA test may have its own effect on the reputation of the children. It is also to be considered that they are major children born during the existence of a valid marriage and are not a party to the original proceeding, the court added.
The judges said the case reminded them of the words of French Philosopher Michel de Montaigne that “a good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.”
Indian law on adultery provides for criminal culpability of a man in an illicit relationship with a married woman, and he can be imprisoned up to five years.
It, however, exempts the woman in an adulterous relationship from punishment. Adultery, however, can be a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.
First Published: Jun 19, 2018 22:50 IST