Section 125 CrPC: Wife Denying to Undergo DNA Test on Dispute of Legitimacy of Child Raised by Husband is Not Sufficient to Draw Any Adverse Inference Against Wife, Rules Bombay HC
Case Title: Namdeo v. Seema
Bench: Justice Kishore C. Sant
Case No.: CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO. 271 OF 2017
Counsel for the petitioner: Mr. Ravindra V. Gore
Counsel for the respondent: Mr. Sandip R. Andhale
The Bombay HC on Saturday stated that the wife declining to go for a DNA test is not sufficient to draw an adverse inference against her.
The bench of Justice Kishore C. Sant was dealing with the petition challenging the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge thereby dismissing the revision application.
In this case, Respondent No.1-wife filed an application under section 125 of the Cr.P.C. seeking maintenance for herself and her daughter, who was aged 5 ½ months at the time of filing of the application.
It is the case of the wife that the husband did not maintain her well and drove her out of the house. She delivered a daughter. However, inspite of that the petitioner-husband is not taking care to maintain the wife and the daughter.
The case of the husband is that the girl child of the respondent-wife is not from him and he is not the biological father of the child.
Inspite of this, he had made attempts to bring his wife home, but it is the wife, who is not ready to come for co-habitation. She had relations with some other person. Thus, the case of the petitioner-husband is that he is not liable to pay maintenance.
The Trial Court has held that there is no sufficient evidence to show that the husband is not the biological father of the child.
The Trial Court placed reliance on section 112 of the Evidence Act to hold that the child is born during the subsistence of the marriage and therefore the child is presumed to be born from the husband.
The order passed by the Trial Court is challenged by the husband by filing a revision in the Court of Sessions Judge which was dismissed.
The issue for consideration before the bench was:
Whether the order passed by the Trial Court needs interference or not?
The bench observed that the husband and wife both made a joint application to the Forensic Science Laboratory for conducting such a DNA test. The report of Forensic Lab has excluded the father to be the biological father of the child. Second time the test was conducted, which again confirmed that the husband was not the biological father of the child. Again at the request of the wife, DNA test was directed to be conducted at the Central Forensic Laboratory, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India at Hyderabad. Again the said report confirmed that the husband was not the biological father of the child.
High Court stated that it needs to be seen that since the beginning it is case of the petitioner husband that respondent No.2 child is not his child. Even in the say filed in the Trial Court, he had taken this ground. The Trial Court while deciding the application considered the presumption under section 112 of the Evidence Act. The Trial Court had considered the case of Nandlal Wasudeo Badwaik v. Lata Nandlal Badwaik & Another. Thus, it is clear that before the Trial Court, it was a defence of the husband that the child is not born to him. After considering all the aspects, the Trial Judge allowed the application and ordered to grant maintenance.
The bench noted that in the Sessions Court, the specific ground is taken about the legitimacy of the child. Not only that the petitioner has justified as to why he has not filed an application for DNA test but also relied upon the answer given by the respondent-wife that she is not ready to go for DNA test.
High Court opined that mere submission that the question was asked in cross-examination to wife that whether she is ready to go for DNA test, where she has answered that she is not ready itself would not be sufficient to draw an adverse inference against the wife.
The bench stated that the argument of husband that the he is not his biological daughter cannot be now accepted, firstly, there is no separate application filed by him neither in the Trial Court, nor before the Revisional Court, secondly, no case is made out by the petitioner-husband to direct DNA test. Both the Courts below have rightly observed that no case is made out by the husband to show that for the period of 280 days before the delivery of child, there was no access to him with his wife.
In view of the above, the High Court dismissed the petition.