"If the test isn't done, it will be easier to prey upon minors and force them to turn turtle in the witness box," the court said.

Madras HC orders DNA test on woman and child as she turns hostile to save rapist father
news Law Sunday, November 13, 2016 - 09:21

The Madras High Court on Saturday directed an 18-year-old woman and her four-month-child to undergo a DNA test after the woman allegedly tried to 'save' the 'father' of the child from criminal charges.

Dismissing a petition filed by one Charanya*, who had challenged a lower court's order subjecting her to undergo the test, Justice PN Prakash said “on the failure of a witness in a criminal case to give his or her blood sample, nail, hair, etc, he or she will have to face action under Section 349 Cr.Pc and also under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”

The case relates to a complaint made by another woman against one Manikandan, alleging that he promised to marry her, took her to his house, and had sex with her. 

However, Manikandan's family opposed the relationship and drove the woman out of the house, before holding a village panchayat and deciding that the accused should marry his niece, Sharanya, who was a minor at the time, as his 'first wife', and consider the complainant as his 'second wife'.

Following the incident, the woman filed a complaint with the police.

The Child Welfare Committee, which later spoke to Sharanya, stated that she was impregnated by her uncle, following which medical reports confirmed that she was four months pregnant.

The case soon moved to the Mahila Court in Perambalur, and a chargesheet was filed under various sections and also the POCSO Act.

Sharanya delivered a male child in September 2015 at the Government Hospital in Perambalur, where the Birth Certificate of the child mentioned that the father's name was Manikandan. 

However, when Sharanya was made to testify in court, she claimed that she had no relationship with her uncle, and she had a husband with the same name, who lived abroad.

Following this, the Mahila Court ordered a DNA test on the mother and child, which was challenged in the High Court. 

Justice PN Prakash, in his order, went on to add, “In the case at hand, it is not the paternity of the child that is in issue. The issue before this Court is whether Manikandan has committed an offence under the POCSO Act. The issue of legitimacy would only be incidentally involved.  One has to see the picture on a larger canvas and if so seen, there can be no doubt that the harm that would befall the administration of criminal justice is far greater, if witnesses like the petitioner then Minor Girl and her child cannot be subjected to DNA profiling." 

Dismissing the petition, he stated, "The harm that would befall if such a power is not recognised in the trial Court will be far greater, because it will be easier for people to prey upon minor girls from downtrodden communities like predators and force them to turn turtle in the witness box.  There is, therefore, an eminent need to subject the petitioner and her child to DNA profiling in order to arrive at the truth."

 

 

*Name changed

 

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