March 14, 2011 11:34:23 am
In a setback to veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari,the Supreme Court today held that he has to undergo DNA test in a paternity case but said its finding would not be made public until it is required.
A Bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha refused to stay the Delhi High Court order asking the 85-year
old leader to undergo a DNA test and directed him to suggest by Friday the procedure preferred by him for the DNA test.
In a related development,the High Court asked Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA,Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) to conduct DNA test on Tiwari to ascertain the plea of 31-year- old Rohit Shekhar claiming to be his biological son.
Refusing to grant any relief,the apex court said that considering the age of the leader,it is necessary to have a DNA test so that the young man is not left without any remedy if something happens to Tiwari.
“We want to ensure that there must be something on which the court can rely if something happens to you (Tiwari),” the Bench said.
“It (DNA report) may turn out to be waste paper if the paternity suit doesn’t pass the first legal hurdle. But what would happen if something happens to you?” the court said while rejecting Tiwari’s plea that he should not be subjected to the test as it would violate his right to privacy.
Tiwari,who has held the post of chief minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh and later of Uttarakhand,contended that it would be a violation of his right to privacy and would cause him public humiliation if he is directed to undergo the DNA test.
The Bench,however,said,”Where is the intrusion of privacy,if the DNA report is kept in sealed envelope? We are not averse to deciding your plea but we won’t allow the paternity suit to be frustrated by staying the order. It cannot go on like this.
“As long as it is not disclosed,it won’t humiliate,” the court said.
The court also queried from the leader’s counsel as to why Tiwari was avoiding the test. “Can you give me one reason why you are avoiding it?” the Bench asked.
Senior advocate Ashok Desai,appearing for the Congress leader,contended the High Court had committed an error in passing the order and it should look at other evidence too to decide the paternity suit rather than focussing on the DNA test which is not a conclusive evidence.
“It is a strange suit which has been filed by the young man 30 years after his birth and he pleads the court to declare his mother unchaste,” Desai submitted before the Bench.
The apex court posted the matter for Friday to pass the order when Tiwari would tell the court the procedure preferred by him to undergo the test after his counsel suggested that the test can be conducted by taking a sample of his hair or blood.
A single-judge Bench of the Delhi High Court had on December 23 asked Tiwari to undergo the DNA test on a paternity suit filed by Rohit,who claims to be Tiwari’s biological son born out of the leader’s alleged relationship with his mother Ujjawala Sharma.
The court had asked him to undergo the test saying the wider interest of a child that he should not be declared a “bastard” has to be kept in mind.
Tiwari,who was forced to resign as governor in the middle of allegations of sexual misconduct,had countered the charges claiming that he never had any physical relationship with Ujjwala,who is also a Congress activist,and Shekhar was not entitled to seek a DNA test as a matter of right.
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