A Sangrur resident’s plea for a DNA test on his daughter to avoid paying her monthly maintenance of Rs 2,000 has been rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which ruled that such a step would not only be a “travesty of justice” but also leave “deep psychological scars”. The plea was filed after the man failed to prove an adultery allegation against his wife.
“Such a course of action is not only misconceived, but also perverse in law…if this court were to allow the prayer of the petitioner, who it seems, is desperately finding ways to avoid his just liability. Carrying out a DNA test on respondent no.3 (daughter) would leave deep psychological scars…and this court would be loathed to allow that to happen. Courts lean heavily in favour of legitimacy of a child,” read the order.
In 2015, a family court had ordered the man to pay maintenance to his wife and their two children after the wife had filed a petition for the same saying she had been thrown out of the matrimonial home. The wife, in her petition, had under section 125 CrPC submitted that she is the legally wedded wife of the Sangrur man and two children were born when they were married. The lower court had rejected the allegations of adultery against the woman. An appeal against the order was dismissed by the high court in 2017 for want of prosecution as there was no representation from the Sangrur man.
The man had approached the high court again seeking directions for a DNA test on his daughter and submitted that he has no legal liability to pay the Rs 2,000 maintenance to her, claiming that she was not his biological daughter. Justice Manjari Kaul Nehru in her verdict said that there was no application for revival of the dismissed appeal against the 2015 decision of the family court, meaning he has accepted the order for payment of interim maintenance and “he cannot be now heard doubting her paternity”.
Observing that he had failed to establish the allegation of adultery against the wife and also accepted the 2015 order on maintenance, the court said that the man cannot turn around and call in question the daughter’s paternity. Upholding the family court order on dismissal of a plea for DNA test, the court said that the daughter “cannot be allowed to undergo the pain and trauma…”