A “conclusive proof” rule on the legitimacy of a child born either (1) when the mother of the child is still married to a man or (2) if the child was born 280 days after the marriage ended and the mother is still single is codified in Section 112 of the Act. In any event, the nation’s evidence laws will also be affected by this. Given this, the current study investigates the employability of scientific and forensic evidence in respect to the pertinent section of Indian evidence regulations.


The way scientific and technical advancements have impacted different social and cultural facets of society, so too must the legal system adapt. The Act’s Section 112 establishes a standard of “conclusive proof” for determining the legitimacy of a child born either (1) while the mother of the kid is still married to a lawful man or (2) if the child was born 280 days after the mother’s divorce and is still unmarried. Consequently, the provision can only be invalidated by a clear preponderance of the evidence in cases where the paternity of a child is in question, not by a mere balance of probability. The aforementioned sentence derives from the proverb “pater est quem numtioe demonstrant,” which roughly translates to “he is the father whom the marriage indicates.” It is crucial to keep in mind that the wife is not covered by this type of legal conclusiveness, which could be challenging from her standpoint. When such questions are satisfactorily answered, the common reaction is that this is the result of a legitimate legislative effort to end the stigma that the community created when the mother was called an unchaste woman and the child a bastard.

Thus, the plan would first do away with the existing judicial position that takes DNA testing into account when making decisions about matters pertaining to validity and paternity.


When Section 112 of the Evidence Act was first established, some 150 years ago, the legislators could not have imagined the technological and scientific advancements that have since made it possible to objectively verify paternity. This, along with society’s regressive and conservative perspective, which resulted in a plethora of regulations that objectified and exalted women as sources of chastity and purity, laid the foundation for the establishment of this section.

Unlike traditional blood testing, which simply determines that a particular blood type belongs to a blood group, DNA mapping provides a conclusive test of paternity. In Bhartiraj v. Sumesh Sachdeo, it was decided that blood testing does not directly link a child’s paternity to a specific person; rather, it only assists in limiting the scope of paternity to individuals who share ancestry with the kid. It just determines whether or not the mentioned person is the child’s biological parent. Conversely, DNA technology is a forensic method that is derived from genetic science and is considered to be exceptionally accurate, with a one in three hundred million risk of error. Due to its remarkable accuracy in establishing the paternity of the progeny, the courts have begun to rely on it and acknowledge the Privy Council’s ruling in Damisetti Ramchendrudu v. Damisetti Janakiramanna, which held that a mere presumption does not have the authority to override sufficient evidence in the record. This is reinforced by the rule of evidence, which mandates that the best evidence be presented to the court in order to support or refute a fact under dispute, and places the responsibility for finding the truth and enforcing justice on the court as a result. 

In the historic case of Gautum Kundu v. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court acknowledged the emerging and sophisticated method of determining a child’s paternity and established guidelines that provide insight into the use of DNA testing jurisprudence in India. In the previously mentioned instance, the father requested DNA testing to establish his paternity in order to prevent the mother from requesting child support. In addressing the matter of court-ordered DNA profiling against an individual’s will and in violation of their rights to privacy, personal liberty, and the dignity of their mother and children, the Supreme Court held that the presumption under Section 112 can be overturned by a high standard of “strong preponderance of evidence,” not just a “balance of probabilities.” The court came to the conclusion that if a compelling initial case of non-access between the parties could be shown to satisfy the court, then any refusal on the part of either party to submit to such DNA testing would result in the court drawing negative conclusions about them. In Gautum Kundu, the Supreme Court affirmed its ruling by relying on a factual serological test that was performed during the trial. It concluded that, in the absence of any supporting or opposing precedent, reliance should be placed on a medical test that defies the presumption of legitimacy raised under Section 112 of the Evidence Act. Additionally, the court in Sharda v. Dharmpal made it clear that matrimonial courts have the discretion to order the parties to undergo medical testing in order to resolve disputes arising out of such matrimony and that such an order shall not be deemed to violate the parties’ right to privacy in accordance with Article 21. Since Article 21 is not an absolute right, the court may order any medical test against an individual if there is enough evidence to establish a case at first. The courts must persuade themselves that DNA testing is “imminent” and that the absence of such medical evidence would make it impossible for the court to resolve the dispute in order to strike a balance between the determination of the fact in question and the individual’s fundamental Right to Privacy.

Nonetheless, the court lacks the authority to compel someone to submit to a medical examination against their will. Should someone refuse to comply with such an order, the court may make an unfavourable judgement against them. This inference is predicated on the idea that no honest person would deny having a DNA test, which would only serve to confirm their denial of paternity, unless they are the biological parent, in which case the denial would only highlight their dilemma of willfully rejecting their child. In a recent ruling in Dipanwita Roy v. Ronobroto Roy, the Supreme Court stated that in cases where the wife’s husband questions her fidelity, the court may order her to have a DNA test, and if she refuses, the court may hold an unfavourable opinion against her. The factual matrices in the aforementioned cases have been quickly distinguished by the courts from situations in which the offspring has reached majority and is requesting a paternity test. Since the child wants a declaration of paternity, these situations do not involve the stigmatisation of the child or a breach of their Right to Dignity as addressed in Gautum Kundu. In the case of Rohit Shekhar v. Narayan Dutt Tiwari, the court determined that failing to comply with a directive to undergo medical testing in situations where the respondent’s child approaches the court to be declared as his biological child would not only give rise to a negative conclusion but also give the court the authority to order the subject to provide a blood sample. The court reiterated in Maria Margarida Sequeria Fernandes v. Erasmo Jack de Sequeria that it is the court’s responsibility to use the best evidence available to determine the truth and reduce factual dispute while determining the facts at hand. The court determined that the enforceability of a DNA testing directive cannot be replaced by a relatively weak adverse inference resulting from non-compliance with an order mandating medical testing, given the burden this requires on the legal system.

The courts in Sadashiv Mallikarjun Khedarkar v. Nandini Sadasiv Khedarkar34 acknowledged the gaps in the legislation and emphasised how it did not align with the realities of matrimony. A situation where a husband and wife cohabit but the woman gives birth to a kid born out of an illicit connection with another man is not covered by Section 112. Under such circumstances, the husband is precluded from contesting the definitive assumption that certifies him as the child’s father. In the wake of this, the court permitted DNA profiling in the cases of Dwarika Prasad Satpathy v. Bidyut Prava Dixit and Kanchan Bedi v. Gurpreet Singh Bedi, where the husband contested the Section 112. But the court has also acted swiftly to protect the mother’s interests, ruling that no DNA tests should be ordered without first providing the mother with a fair trial in line with natural justice principles. Moreover, these tests ought to be ordered in unusual and meritorious circumstances that are in the best interests of the progeny, rather than being given out randomly.

Section 112 of the Evidence Act was introduced approximately 150 years ago, when scientific advances and precision in paternity determination were unimaginable to the legislators. This is supported by a jurisprudential analysis of the court’s acceptance of DNA testing and reliance on other contemporary medical techniques. DNA technology is a forensic method that is based on genetic research and is considered to be extremely accurate, with a one in three hundred million probability of error. It is evident that courts have started to rely on it because of its startling precision in establishing the paternity of the offspring.


The Evidence Act was passed during a period when the legislature was unable to fully comprehend the scientific intricacy and accuracy of the developments in genetic testing, such as DNA mapping. But in the twenty-first century, DNA profiling has made significant strides towards identifying genes and their relationship to a genetically similar person, as well as establishing paternity with startling accuracy. Given these advances, the Evidence Act should recognise that the presumption of paternity is rebuttable and should not be interpreted as indisputable in the face of contradicting medical evidence. Given the significant changes that Indian society has experienced over the years, this presumption need to be abandoned. Instead of depending on archaic and conservative ideas of morality, chastity, honour, and ethics, the courts should work to promote a progressive interpretation of the law. In addition, as it is the responsibility of the courts to review all relevant evidence in order to determine the truth, they cannot ignore objective medical data that helps establish the paternity of an offspring. Consequently, courts should not encourage the imposition of this imaginary duty on individuals and should permit the presumption to be rebuttable under Section 112 on the basis of objective and scientific merit. Establishing the paternity of a child definitively requires the admissibility of DNA evidence and should rely on the progress being made in medical jurisprudence.

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