Paternity suit: Tiwari gets a day to undergo DNA test

Monday, February 7, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Delhi High Court Monday gave Congress leader N.D. Tiwari a day to complete the formalities for undergoing a DNA test on a suit filed by a young man claiming to be his biological son.

A division bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Siddharth Mridul asked for a Tiwari aide to appear before the joint registrar Tuesday and complete all the formalities for the test. Till then, the order on Tiwari’s plea opposing the DNA test in the paternity suit was reserved.

Rohit Shekhar, 31, claims to be Tiwari’s biological son, born out of an alleged relationship between his mother Ujjwala Sharma and the Congress leader.

Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan appeared for Tiwari, who has asked for an interim stay of the Dec 23, 2010 court order asking him to undergo the DNA test.

Bhushan said “there was no urgency as the petitioner (Rohit) has not sought any pecuniary relief”.

The bench asked: “Can Tiwari file an affidavit that he would remain alive for the next 10 years?”

“Tiwari cannot be compelled by the court to give his blood sample and there are various Supreme Court judgements on the issue,” Bhushan said.

Tiwari, who had held the posts of chief minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh and later Uttarakhand, has opposed the paternity suit.

Tiwari, who last year resigned as Andhra Pradesh governor in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct, countered the claims and said he never had any physical relationship with Ujjwala, who is also a Congress activist. Shekhar, he said, was not entitled to seek a DNA test as a matter of right.

On Dec 23, 2010, the Delhi High Court had ordered Tiwari to undergo the DNA test to ascertain Shekhar’s claim.

A single-judge bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat said it “cannot disregard the right of a child to know about his or her biological father.”

“The single judge order asking the leader to undergo the test was erroneous as a legal and valid marriage was subsisting between Ujjwala and Bimal Prasad Sharma, the legitimate father of Rohit,” said Bhushan.

“The words paternity and legitimacy, were interchangeable and no distinction can be made between them,” Bhushan said.

Counsel Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for Shekhar, opposed Tiwari’s plea, saying that paternity and legitimacy were two distinct issues and the single judge had rightly asked the Congress leader to undergo the test.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

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