Apex court bans forced DNA test, okays suit against Tiwari

Monday, May 10, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Monday said that no one could be forced to undergo a DNA test and asked the Delhi High Court to go ahead with a paternity suit against veteran Congress leader N.D. Tiwari.

The court said this during the hearing of a petition filed by Tiwari seeking a shield against judicial proceedings aimed at conducting his DNA test to know if he is the biological father of Rohit Shekhar.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan directed the high court to go ahead with the paternity suit against Tiwari and the framing of issues.

Counsel P.S. Patwalia appearing for Shekhar told the court: “I (Rohit) am ready for the DNA test. Let him (Tiwari) also agree. If I am proved wrong then I would face prosecution, otherwise he (Tiwari) would face prosecution.”

Objecting to Patwalia’s submission, senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for Tiwari said: “This is a cheap publicity seeking tactic.”

Salve wondered how a senior counsel could make such a suggestion before the court. This prompted Chief Justice Balakrishnan to say that nobody could be forced to undergo a DNA test.

The apex court said its direction to high court to frame the issues against Tiwari will include examining the maintainability of the paternity suit on the grounds of territorial jurisdiction, limitation, accessibility and all other issues.

The high court will do so without being influenced by the earlier observations of a single judge and a division bench, the apex court said.

Salve told the court that the suit was intended to malign Tiwari. He said that Shekhar was “not interested in leading the evidence but to malign his client”.

At this the apex court observed: “If the intention was to defame the petitioner then she (Shekhar’s mother Ujwala Sharma) could have said that even her first child too was born of him (Tiwari). However, she says that her first child was from her divorced husband and second from the petitioner.”

Salve said that though Ujwala and her divorced husband separated in 1969, in 2006 when they filed for divorce application they had a common address. At this, Justice Chauhan pointed out that one of them was living on the ground floor and the other was living on the first floor of the premises.

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