Medical evidence is always prioritized as vital evidence in the court of law. DNA is one such medical evidence which is widely acceptable. DNA, the double stranded helix structure stands for deoxyribonucleic acid contains mainly amino acids with adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine. The components of DNA are such that it aids in the identification of genetic blueprint. All the cells of a human body contain the DNA sample consisting of both the parent’s DNA in equal proportion. This characteristic of DNA defines its unique feature and endows unerring outcomes to determine parentage through paternity test. There are ample sources from which it can be abstracted like the blood, saliva, hair strand, razor clipping etc. The samples for DNA tests are easy to procure. The obtained sample is sent to laboratories to ascertain the genetic relationship between two individuals. Beside medical treatment this technique is implemented in different areas for different reasons which also include law enforcement.
The concept of DNA was first annotated in 1953 by Francis H.C. Crick and James D Watson. They also highlighted that identical twins are the exception to the rules of DNA as they have the same genetic blueprint but further it was discovered that identical twins do not have the same fingerprint DNA. Later, in the year 1985 Alec J. Jeffreys an English scientist explicated the significance and relevance of DNA testing. After that this approach was commonly used by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and many commercial laboratories.
The DNA mechanism for the purpose to find concrete evidence in criminal investigation uses exceptionally advanced scientific appliances to disassemble and isolate the suspect’s DNA molecule for further comparison. After taking the accused sample it is compared with the procured physical evidence. If the sample shows a contrary report then the accused is exempted from consideration. Conversely, if the sample is the spitting image of each other then the statistical analysis is performed by the adjudicator to reach a conclusion.
This technique plays a vital role in the cases of sexual assault. If the victim has conceived through such an assault then a DNA test can determine the biological father of such a child. This method can also be used to determine whether two persons share any genetic relation in cases of obscure birth, deserted child, child swapping or infanticide.DNA test plays equally important role in matters of civil litigation convoluted with petition of an estranged partner for maintenance and financial assistance of a child.
For the first time DNA test was considered as evidence in a case of rape and murder of two teenagers in England. The police have already detained a suspect named Richard Buckland who had confessed the commitment of the heinous and brutal crime. The police for confirmation approached Alec Jeffreys and handed over physical evidence of 1983 and 1986 crime scene to conduct further investigation. When Jaffreys analysed the samples and compared it with the suspect’s sample it did not match. In order to find the real culprit the investigating officers have collected as many as 4000 samples but the samples were non-identical. At last they overheard a person named Colin Pitchfork who divulged that he had provided flawed samples. When his sample was again tested it matched with the collected samples. In this way, the first use of a DNA test protected an innocent person.
In India there were many pending paternity dispute cases which were efficiently disposed of through this technique.There is still no specific legislation regarding DNA evidence in India despite this DNA testing was considered valid by the judiciary.
The first time India used DNA for paternity determination was in the case of Kunhiraman v. Manoj where a girl named Vilasini accused her lover Kunhiraman to be the father of her son and asked for maintenance of the child. She alleged that the child was born from their illegitimate relationship out of wedlock so her husband abandoned her and rebelled to take the father ship of the child. The CJM ordained them to undertake the DNA test as he proclaimed that DNA reports are admissible under section 45 of Indian Evidence Act since it can be considered as an expert’s opinion. The report provided by CCMB Hyderabad reaffirmed that the child belonged to Kunhiraman.
The Apex court in the case of Goutam Kundu v. State of West Bengal , gave certain directions to supervise the courts in the matter of blood test. The court upheld that there should exist a prime facie case in which the husband must establish the non-existence of consummation in order to dispel the assumption arising from section 112 of Evidence Act. The court can order DNA tests only in deserving cases. None can be forced to provide a blood sample for examination. The discretion rested upon the court can only be exercised noticing the interest of the parties involved by checking the necessity and consequences of the test report. If the eye witness and medical evidence contradicts then the court would prefer such evidence which inspires more confidence. The court cannot ignore the ocular evidence on the basis of medical opinion.
In Amarjit Kaur v. Harbhajan Singh the court affirmed that section 112 of the IEA was enshrined in the legislation when the concept of DNA and RNA was not there. Despite the fact that these tests provide accurate scientific results, the court cannot disregard the conclusive presumption of law to determine the legitimacy of a child. In Kanti Devi v. Poshi Ram the apex court persuaded the legislature to stringently incline on the unreasoning and ordinary system of justice.
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