Supreme Court: In a case where the husband had disputed paternity of child on suspicion, though the Division Bench comprising of Indira Banerjee and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., directed to conduct DNA test, the Bench granted a conditional compensation of thirty lakhs to the wife if the suspicion proves to be wrong and respondent-husband turns out to be the father of the child.
The instant appeal was filed against the order of Bombay High Court wherein the High Court had affirmed the directions of Family Court directing the appellant herein to conduct DNA test of the child. The husband of the appellant-respondent had filed a case before the Family Court on having strong suspicion regarding paternity of the child and had requested for a DNA test.
Quashing the revision application, the High Court observed that the respondent-husband could not be foisted with paternity of child, if it is prove by a scientific method that he is not the biological father of the said child, though, he was having access to the petitioner at the relevant time.
Assailing the findings of the High Court, the appellant-wife contended that they got married on 05-02-2014 and the marriage was consummated on 09-02-2014. On 27-28th June, 2014, she underwent medical tests in Singapore when the doctor opined that the foetus was about 21 weeks old. The appellant argued that time gap between 09-02-2014 and 27-28-06-2014 was about 20 weeks, hence, the difference, if any, was only of one week. Since the doctor’s opinion was based on estimation, it could never be absolutely accurate. Further, the child was born after 261 days, i.e., about 17 days earlier which was almost after 9 months, therefore, there was no reason to presume that the petitioner was pregnant when she married the respondent.
To resolve the dispute once and for all, the Bench refrained from interfering with the direction for paternity/DNA Test and directed that the paternity/DNA test may be conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, for which the appellant and the respondent were directed to give samples and the respondent was directed to bear the expenses.
However, the Bench added that if on testing, it is found that the allegations are based on suspicion and the respondent is, in fact, the father of the child, the respondent shall pay compensation of Rs.30,00,000 (Rupees thirty lakhs only) to the petitioner, in addition to usual maintenance and other costs and charges as he may be directed to pay for the petitioner and for the child. Expenses of the appellant and the child for travel to Delhi and back and for accommodation in Delhi were also directed to be borne by the respondent-husband.
[Priyanka Janardhan Patil v. Janardhan Raghunath Patil, SLA (C) No(s). 5554 of 2020, decided on 04-04-2022]
For Petitioner(s): Advocate Sangeeta Bharti, AOR Sujeeta Srivastava and Advocate Kamna Vohra
For Respondent(s): Senior Advocate Vinay Navare and AOR Rashmi Singhania
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together