The Supreme Court said on Friday that DNA testing should not be imposed as a routine matter, but only in deserving cases, as forcing a reluctant party to undergo a DNA test violates personal freedom and the right to privacy of ‘an individual.
The Supreme Court said that in circumstances where other evidence is available to prove or dispute the relationship, the court should normally refrain from ordering blood tests.
A bench of Judges R Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy said DNA is unique to an individual (except twins) and can be used to identify a person’s identity, trace family ties or even reveal information from health sensitive.
“The question of whether a person can be compelled to provide a DNA sample in such questions can also be answered by considering the test of proportionality set out in the unanimous decision of this Court in KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India, where the right to privacy has been declared a constitutionally protected right in India, ”said the bench.
The higher court said that the courts should therefore examine the proportionality of the legitimate aims pursued, i.e. whether they are not arbitrary or discriminatory, whether they may have a negative impact on the person and whether they are justify the invasion of the privacy and personal autonomy of the person subjected to the DNA test.
“When the complainant does not want to submit to the DNA test, forcing him to undergo one would infringe his personal freedom and his right to privacy,” the magistrate said.
The verdict came on an appeal filed by a certain Ashok Kumar requesting a declaration of ownership of property left by the late Trilok Chand Gupta and the late Sona Devi. He presented the couple’s three daughters as accused in the trial and claimed to be the son of Trilok Chand Gupta and Sona Devi. In their written statement, the defendants denied that the plaintiff is the son of their parents (Trilok Chand Gupta and Sona Devi), and that as such he is ineligible for any share of their parental property. The defendants also established an exclusive claim to the property on the basis of the will dated April 16, 1982, executed by their late mother Sona Devi.
During the trial, the defendants filed a request to order Kumar to undergo a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test and either of the defendants, in order to establish a biological link between the plaintiff and the parents of the defendants.
Kumar objected to the plea and stressed that he produced adequate documentary evidence to support his claim. The trial court dismissed the claim, stating that the claimant could not be compelled to submit to the test.
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