BANGALORE: The High Court has held that DNA tests to determine paternity should not be ordered in civil cases of property disputes and courts should consider social consequences of the results.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Hanumappa, a resident of Suragondanahalli village, against the order of the City Civil Court, Hiriyur. The civil court had ordered Hanumappa to undergo a DNA test to determine paternity and relationship with Yallakka, claiming to be his wife and who has sought a share in his property.
Justice Anand Byrareddy laid down a guideline for judges. “It has been observed that courts are routinely directing that parties be subjected to DNA tests and analyses. It is therefore necessary to revisit the topic as understood scientifically and the circumstances under which recourse should be taken, as expressed by the apex court from time to time,” observed Justice Byrareddy. Allowing Hanumappa’s petition, the court said Yallakka had failed to produce any satisfactory evidence to prove the existence of a relationship.
Setting aside the order of the sessions court, Justice Byrareddy held that DNA analysis should only be allowed in deserving cases.
The court observed that, “The courts must examine the possible consequence of such a test, especially in cases involving disputed paternity, having the effect of branding the child as a bastard and the mother as an unchaste woman.”
The court further observed that a court directing a party to submit to a test would not however be a violation of the right to personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In case a man refuses to undergo the tests, the court may take adverse inference against him.