Thursday, June 20, 2024

Courts cannot allow DNA testing routinely, strong prima facie case required: Kerala HC


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Shillong, May 24: The Kerala High Court has ruled that courts cannot allow DNA testing in all cases, but only in those matters where a strong prima facie case is made out in favour of the person who seeks the test.


“The court finds that one cannot seek DNA test to be done only in his/her attempt to fish out evidence in support of his/her case. Unless and until the applicant makes out a strong prima facie case, such an application is not liable to be allowed,” it said while allowing a petition challenging a trial court’s decision to allow a DNA test to be conducted in a property dispute.


The trial court order came on a petition filed by a woman before a trial court in 2017, staking a claim to land belonging to a man who died in the 1980s on the grounds that the deceased was her father, and that he had been married to her mother before he later married another woman. She claimed that she was born out of the deceased man’s first marriage and hence, she and her mother were entitled to a part of the deceased man’s property.


This was contested by the deceased man’s son, who contended that his father was never married to anyone else other than his mother. Hence to prove her parentage, she filed an application for conducting a sibling DNA test, which a magistrate’s court allowed.


The deceased man’s son subsequently filed an original petition before the High Court and after going through the facts of the entire case, it said: “It’s already held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the existence of a strong prima facie case is a sine qua non to seek conduct of the DNA test. Here, the plaintiff/ applicant herself admits that there exists no evidence, except the aspect sought to be proved by DNA analysis …”


“DNA analysis, even if allowed, will not establish the marriage between (the deceased man and the plaintiff’s mother). At best, it may prove that the plaintiff is the daughter (of the deceased man). The proof of the same, by itself, would not carry the plaintiff anywhere. The prayer is one for partition,” the High Court said as it set aside the order allowing the conduct of a DNA test. (IANS)


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