-Report by Umang Kanwat
Family law conceptions still depend on parental control and the idea of “the family” as a unit, while privacy theories are mostly adult-centered and cannot be meaningfully applied to minors. In the recent case of Aparna Ajinkya Firodia Versus Ajinkya Arun Firodia, the Supreme Court determined that it could not forgo the rights and best interests of a third party, namely the child, in order to grant one of the parties to the marriage the benefit of a fair trial.
In the current case of Aparna Ajinkya Firodia Vs. Ajinkya Arun Firodia involving a married couple was going through divorce proceedings suspecting that the appellant-wife was in an adulterous relationship. The husband requested the court to order a DNA test on their second child to determine if he was the biological father. The court granted the request, and this decision was upheld by the Bombay High Court.
The appellant declines to submit the kid to a DNA test in her capacity as the child’s mother and natural guardian in order to safeguard the child’s interests and welfare. She is actually acting in the child’s best interests by refusing to submit the child to a DNA test.
The respondent is not contesting the child’s legitimacy, but rather accusing the appellant-wife of adultery, and since she refused to submit the child to a DNA test, a presumption under Section 114(h) of the Evidence Actmight be made against her. In other words, he argues that Section 114(h) rather than Section 112 applies in this particular case and that the court is not required to expose the kid to a DNA test if the appellant is unwilling.
The Apex Court by concluding that the High Court and Family Court erred by granting the respondent’s request to subject the child to a DNA test, stated that in every instance when a parent declines to have their child undergo a DNA test, it is not prudent to infer the worst under Section 114 of the Evidence Act.
The court also emphasised that children have the right to protection from having their legal status inadvertently called into question in court. A child’s understanding of privacy could differ from an adult’s. However, merely because they are young, children should not be denied this right to shape and comprehend their sense of self. Furthermore, children have a specific right to maintain their identity under Article 8 of the Convention. Parental information is a characteristic of a child’s identity. As a result, it is forbidden to arbitrarily contest a child’s parentage in front of a court of law.
As a result, the appeal was granted. The court did add that this would not prevent the respondent-husband from presenting more evidence to support the claims he made against the appellant in the divorce petition.
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