A mother’s battle to fight for a father her son never had

Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John & Sameera Ahmed| The News Minute| February 24, 2014| 2.00 pm IST Last week, the Kerala State’s Women’s Commission Chairperson appeared before a Magistrate court as witness to a peculiar paternity case. DNA samples taken from a man’s dead body were used to establish paternity. We take you though the story of 53-year old Karthyayani and her case which is like no other.  ------------------------------------------------------------------ Karthyayani’s case is no usual paternity case but one involving caste, society, dignity and more importantly a mother’s fight for her fatherless son. 53-year-old Karthyayani, who hails from a village in Kozhikode, went to court in order to prove that a man who continuously denied the relationship, was indeed her son's father. But after years of court battles, her son's father ended his life without cooperating with the paternity suit. The story began in 1989 when Karthyayani fell in love with her neighbour and childhood friend Sri* and had a child out of wedlock. "I was from a scheduled caste and he was from an upper caste, so he was not ready to accept me or my child. When I got pregnant, everyone abandoned me. My father, my siblings, everyone. I was thrown out from my home,” she said. Left in poverty, Karthiyayani says Sri* neither accepted them as his family nor made any efforts to look after them.  "He never talked to our son Rathin. He treated Rathin as an enemy. We both were left in utter poverty. He did not even care to get some food for us," she said Despite the constant rejections, Karthyayani thwarted all attempts by Sri* to marry anybody else. "I didn't allow him to marry, because he had cheated me," she says. Twist in the tale The family affair went to court when her son Rakhin was old enough to question his mother about his father and his origins. Karthayayani had approached Women Commission in 2012. Following the complaint the commission had ordered for a DNA test, which made Sri* to commit suicide. "I am worried about my son. He felt ashamed to pursue the legal route. He was adamant on not involving the media because he felt he would be insulted in public. So he always fought with me. But I need the recognition that Sri* was my son's father. My son has every right to his father's property," she says. Recently, Kerala State Women Commission Chairperson K C Rosakkutty appeared before the Kozhikode District Munsif Court as a prime witness to this paternity case. Rosakkutty says this is a rare case in Indian legal history. “Sri* refused to come for a test, he refused to acknowledge the dates we decided. And when the police gave him a deadline to appear for the test, he committed suicide on that very day,” she recalls. “I was shocked at the suicide news, but we were firm. We contacted the medical college hospital where the body was kept and asked the doctor to get the samples for DNA. The procedures were not that easy,” Rosakkutty says. “We have special funds to help lower caste women. We have drawn all expenses for legal procedures of the case from this fund,” Rosakutty says. A After Sri*'s suicide, Karthyayani considered withdrawing the case. Rathin was also not interested in proceeding with it. "The Women’s Commission was persistent and gave me courage," she recalls. Later the test was conducted at Thiruvananthapuram Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, which proved the paternity of Sri* according to the Commission. Case continues Sri* might not be there to fight, but the case has been now taken up by his brothers in his defense.  “His brothers deny Sri*’s paternity as they are scared of losing a share from their assets” Karthyayani alleged. "They say that all the assets were given to temple so that they don't have share it with us. They also say that Sri* is not Rathin's father." "This is a rare case. The accused is not alive, yet a DNA sample was taken from his dead body," Karthyayani's Advocate Vinod Cheriyan says. The case is anything but simple. What the court decides in a delicate situation like this remains to be seen.  Sri*- name changed. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute A playful photo moment takes communal turn in Mangaluru, one boy assaulted

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