By Linus Garg
First publised on 2023-03-17 07:58:00
Distinguishing between the absolute necessity of conducting a DNA test on a child to establish parentage in serious cases and a frivolous request for the same, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court said that children have the right not to have their birth's legitimacy questioned in courts in a frivolous manner.
In the instant case, a man who had separated from his wife questioned the parentage of his son when the latter asked him to pay him maintenance of Rs 5000 per month to cover his educational expenses. The man had rejected the demand on the plea that the boy was not his biological son. A first class judicial magistrate in Rajura had ordered that the son undergo a DNA test to prove that the man was his biological father but the Chandrapur sessions court had quashed that order. Aggrieved, the man had approached the Bombay HC for relief.
The high court ruled that the gainfully employed father, who had deserted the boy's mother, was asking for the DNA test in a frivolous manner as he just wanted to "avoid his liability". It said that if courts were to force a child to prove his or her parentage in such frivolous cases, it would traumatize them and such tests should be ordered only in serious and exceptional cases.
Another major point in this case is that the man had simply deserted his wife and had never asked for divorce. In doing so, he had withdrawn from taking financial responsibility of his wife and son. He had never raised the question of not being the biological father of his son before the son asked for maintenance. Hence, it was clear that he was using the DNA test as a ruse to avoid his liability. The court was right in calling him out and protecting the rights of the boy.