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DNA test ruling accused as the biological father of the child can only be used as corroborative evidence: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court has upheld that a DNA test ruling accused as the biological father of the child can only be used as corroborative evidence and not conclusive evidence through Justice BHARATI DANGRE in the case of Abbas Asmat Ali v. State of Maharashtra (BAIL APPLICATION NO.1810 of 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The subject C.R came to be registered on a complaint filed by the mother of the victim girl, aged 14 years, wherein she stated that she along with her daughters reside in a slum area and is engaged in labour work. She was acquainted to the applicant, who was residing in a building adjoining the slum and she was aware that he was married, having a one-year-old child. 

In February 2020, the applicant and his wife approached her and asked her to send her 14-year-old daughter to look after their two children, ages six and one. The complainant indicated that after discussing the situation with his wife, they agreed to the plan, and that starting the next day, the victim girl would visit their residence and return by 8 p.m. The offender then used this circumstance by forcing himself on the victim. He allegedly raped the girl for ten days straight and threatened her with grave consequences if she told anyone.

The incident came to light after the victim was taken to the clinic for significant stomach pain and it was discovered that she was pregnant. She immediately told her mother about her ordeal, and a FIR was filed against the offenders at the Nerul Police Station.

JUDGEMENT:

The Court observed that the DNA test excluded the applicant as the father of the child but did not discredit the victim who has reiterated in her 164 statement that the applicant forcibly committed sexual intercourse with her.  As per the charge sheet, the applicant had taken undue advantage of the situation of the victim girl, who was working in his house. Thus, there was no reason to disbelieve the testimony of the victim who had narrated the act of sexual assault upon her at the instance of the applicant. 

The Court noted that “The DNA test cannot be said to be the conclusive evidence regarding a rape, but it can only be used as corroborative evidence.” As a result, the Court rejected the accused’s argument that his DNA tests did not match that of the foetus and so he should not be linked to the survivor’s rape.

Furthermore, it was stated that “Since in the present case, the victim girl is firm in her version that the applicant had forcibly committed sexual intercourse with her, he shall be subjected to trial and merely because the DNA excludes him to be the biological father of the child, do not deserve the applicant’s release on bail.”

The Court cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Sunil v. State of Madhya Pradesh, which found that while a positive DNA result would constitute conclusive evidence against the accused, a negative result would not automatically exonerate the accused. As a result, the Court determined there was no reason to disbelieve the victim’s statements. It also considered the victim’s family’s perilous circumstances and stated that the victim and her family are extremely likely to be pressured by the applicant.

In light of the foregoing, the Bench dismissed the bail application.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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