The Supreme Court on Monday declined to interfere with a Delhi High Court order asking a trial judge to frame issues in a paternity suit filed against the former Andhra Pradesh Governor and Congress leader N. D. Tiwari by a person claiming to be his biological son.
A Bench of Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B.S. Chauhan, while refusing to quash the plaint filed against Mr. Tiwari, asked the court to frame the issues without being influenced by the observations made by the single judge and a Division Bench of the High Court.
All issues including maintainability, delay and accessibility could be raised before the trial judge. If an application was made for in-camera hearing, it might be considered by the trial judge, the Bench said.
Senior counsel Harish Salve said the suit was filed to tarnish the image and reputation of Mr. Tiwari and for cheap media publicity. He rejected the submission made by senior counsel O.S. Patwalia, appearing for the respondent, that Mr. Tiwari be subjected to a DNA test. Mr. Patwalia said the respondent would be ready to face prosecution if the test failed.
However, Mr. Salve said: “Why should I [petitioner] suffer the ignominy of undergoing the test when the whole purpose is to malign me.”
Respondent Shekhar had filed the suit claiming that he was born out of a relationship between his mother, Ujjwala Sharma, and Mr. Tiwari. But Mr. Tiwari denied this, and questioned the motive and delay in filing the suit.
While the single judge declined to entertain the suit, a Division Bench, on appeal, asked the trial judge to frame issues. The present appeal by Mr. Tiwari was directed against this order.