August 9, 2021 2:08:50 am
THE MAHARASHTRA home minister last month had asked officials of the state Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to ensure that cases of DNA test sent to them by the Children Welfare Committee (CWC) as part of the adoption process are cleared at the earliest. Following the nudge, the FSL has cleared 25 cases over the past few weeks and currently, it has zero pendency.
In cases of parentage claims over children in CWC custody, a DNA test is mandated by the panel to confirm paternity. In such cases, till the time the DNA report comes in, the child can neither be handed over to the claimants nor can they be considered eligible for adoption.
Also, in cases where police find abandoned infants, the child is handed over to the CWC and an FIR is registered. Later, if the police zero in on probable parents, their DNA samples along with those of the infants are also sent to the FSL.
An official from the Home Department said, “At a meeting with the DG (Legal & Technical), the Home Minister asked them to ensure that pending cases of DNA testing sent by CWC should be cleared at the earliest. The CWC had asked the Home Minister for the same as delays in reports were impacting adoption procedures.”
An official from Maharashtra FSL has confirmed that around 25 DNA test requests from CWC had been cleared over the last few weeks.
A majority of DNA test cases sent by the police are in cases like rapes or sexual offences against minors which are given priority. Hence other reports sometimes are delayed, an official said. “A circular has now been issued asking centres to expedite such cases,” an official said. An official from CWC said in the past there have been cases where a DNA test report has taken more than a year. “In such cases, neither can the child be handed over to the person claiming paternity, nor can he/she be put up for adoption. Hence, a request was made to expedite cases,” the official said. Vijay Doiphode, chairperson of CWC for Mumbai, said they normally followed up with the FSL and in the past few years, received results faster. “We now keep in touch with the police and FSL and get reports within three to six months,” Doiphode said.
A police officer said there are times where in cases of unwanted pregnancies they find minors abandoned in toilets or there are cases of trafficking police doubt if the couple claiming to be a child’s parents are genuine. “In all such cases, we register FIRs and hand over the child to the CWC. There have been delays in the past in getting the DNA report from the FSL. Things have, however, improved now,” the officer added.
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