A 22-year-old youth from Kozhikode overcame lifetime humiliation by finding his biological father through a DNA test with the help of the State Women’s Commission in May.
The case was hyped by the media as the father, a local political leader, committed suicide before the DNA test was done. The police extracted DNA from the deceased man’s body to conduct the test following the intervention of the Commission. For an 18-year-old girl from Valiyaparamba in Kasargod also, a DNA test was fruitful in finding her biological father. Her mother, a blind woman, was raped by a person near her house years ago.
The man, though rich, never gave a penny to the woman and the girl and ignored them.
In both cases, the mothers decided to move legally when it became impossible to live facing the insult from society and it also became a necessity when the children grew up. The test was done through the Commission as the women were not able to afford it. The State Women’s Commission spends lakhs of rupees every year for conducting DNA tests for grieved women who fall below the poverty line and for those belonging to SC/ST sections. On an average, the Commission allots `3 lakh in its annual budget for the test. Sometimes the Commission spends beyond the allotted amount. The facility for conducting the test was set up in 1997. Each test costs Rs 20,000. The cost for the test, done at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology here, was Rs 10,000 till 2001 . Rs 5 lakh each was spent for the purpose in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Rs 3.5 lakh each was spent in 2002 and 2007, Rs 2 lakh in 2008, Rs 3 lakh each in 2011 and 2012 and Rs 8 lakh in 2013.
“In most of the cases, the test was conducted to prove the fatherhood of a child born out of wedlock. The test done for rape victims stands second. Seldom legally married couple also opt for the test when the husband starts doubting the wife. Only rarely the result turns negative,” Commission chairperson K C Rosakkutty said.
“But the man, in most cases, will not be ready to live with the woman even after the test turns positive. The woman can then approach the court and get alimony from the man, where lies the relevance of the test,” Rosakkutty said. In 1999, four tests were conducted, 37 in 2000, six in 2001, 23 in 2003, 25 in 2006, 10 in 2008, three each in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and five in 2012. In 2013, till date the test was conducted in seven cases and the demand for the same was pending in two cases, one from Wayanad and the other from Kasaragod.
“We had to arrange a facility for conducting the test when men began to abandon women after impregnating them.
“In the first few years, the test was conducted in Mysore as there was no facility in the state,” poet Sugathakumari, who headed the Commission in 1997, said.