Making it clear to senior Congress leader N.D. Tiwari that he would have to undergo a paternity test, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a Delhi High Court order requiring him to undergo a DNA test in a pending suit.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha, after hearing senior counsel Ashok Desai for the petitioner, indicated that the findings of the test would be kept in a sealed cover, and not be made public until the suit against him was decided.
When Mr. Desai submitted that Mr. Tiwari would consider taking the test by giving hair from the forehead or saliva, rather than a regular DNA test, the Bench granted time till March 18 to ascertain, from forensic laboratories, whether such tests would be feasible.
Earlier, when Mr. Desai sought a stay of the High Court order, Justice Alam told counsel “it [taking the test] may be in your own interests, to put an end to the whole issue. Why are you avoiding it?”
When counsel said DNA tests could never be made compulsory, and that such a test would amount to an invasion of Mr. Tiwari's right to privacy, Justice Lodha pointed out that both the trial court and the High Court had considered the matter at length.
When Mr. Desai said that instead of subjecting Mr. Tiwari to a paternity test, an adverse inference could be drawn against him in the event of the suit being decided against him, Justice Lodha said: “Adverse inference will not help in deciding paternity. Considering your age we want to ensure that there must be something on which the court can rely if something happens to you. The DNA report may turn out to be waste paper if the paternity suit doesn't pass the first legal hurdle. But what would happen if something happens to you?”
The Delhi High Court had asked Mr. Tiwari to undergo the DNA test after 31-year-old Rohit Shekhar had filed a suit claiming that he was Mr. Tiwari's biological son, born out of the leader's alleged relationship with Ujjwala Sharma. The special leave petition is directed against this order.