114 paternity tests in 5 yrs; suspicion proved wrong in 100 cases
Suspicion in only one out of every eight cases in Mumbai, where men demanded a paternity test of their children to establish allegations of cheating against their wives, was proven right.
Data from the government-run Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Kalina, obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Hindustan Times, revealed that of the 114 paternity tests in connection with 39 cases, received through family courts between 2015 and October 2019, the respective applicant was found to be the father in 100 cases. (See box)
A paternity test can determine the biological father of a child through examination of DNA samples taken from the child and the father. DNA testing is currently the most advanced and accurate technology to determine parentage.
According to experts from FSL, in 90% of the cases referred to them, the wives are accused of adultery, and in the remaining cases, the husbands are accused of having a child with another woman.
Marriage counsellors said divorce cases are often triggered by petty suspicion. “There was a case where the husband approached a family court seeking paternity test as he had seen his wife talking to a male neighbour,” said Sandheya Parekh, a marriage counsellor.
“We get two types of paternity determination cases. The first type is when couples approach family courts which order us to do the analysis. The second one is when the police, during a crime investigation, approach us to run analysis,” said a senior officer from the laboratory.
“Also, it is seen that most of the cases are reported when a girl child is born,” he added.
The expenses for paternity tests are borne by the couples who approach family courts. The charge for the test was ₹8,160 per sample analysis in 2015, which has now increased to ₹14,510. Kalina FSL has earned over ₹15 lakh by doing paternity tests in the last five years.
According to experts, the number of samples received has decreased due to the hike in charges. In 2015, 27 samples were received by the laboratory which has gone down to 15 in 2019 (till October).
However, they said some cases from other districts have also been diverted due to the rise in the number of state-run forensic laboratories. “Earlier, we used to get samples from other districts but now, as more DNA testing laboratories are being constructed across the state, we are getting fewer samples. Courts direct the nearest lab to do the analysis,” said Dr Krishna Kulkarni, director of FSL.