Gautam Kundu vs. State of West Bengal is an important case for understanding the extent of Section 112 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Section 112 of the Act provides a very limited exception to the assumption of legitimacy during the earlier stage. A valid marriage may not be conclusive proof if it can be shown that the parties to the marriage had no access to each other during the time of conception. This has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and not just a mere balance of probabilities.
FACTS OF GAUTAM KUNDU CASE:
- The appellant was wedded to the second respondent as per Hindu Rites and Customs. They lived respectively for some time until the second respondent left her matrimonial home to prepare for Higher Secondary Examination.
- In April 1990, on realizing that she was pregnant, she told about the conception of her husband-appellant. The appellant and the relatives didn’t want a kind. Because of this, she was told by her relatives to go through an abortion. The respondent opposed it.
- She returned to the marital home during Durga Pooja in October 1990. A female kid was born on 03rd January 1991. She filed a petition under section 125 Cr. P.C. before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, both for her and the kid.
- By a request dated 14th August 1991 which was passed ex-parte, the Court granted an amount of Rs. 300 per month to the mother and Rs.200 to the youngster.
- Against that request, the appellant-husband moved a revision application before the High Court. Appellant-husband wanted blood group testing to determine the legitimacy of the child.
- Is the petition for a blood group test valid as per section 112 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872?
- Is the petition maintainable in the court of law?
The petitioner disputed the paternity of the child and prayed for a blood group test of the child to prove that he was not the father of the child. According to him, if he could prove the illegitimacy of the child, he would not be liable to pay for the maintenance.
RATIO AND DECISION:
Justices A.M Ahmadi and S. Mohan delivered the decision.
The application was dismissed on two grounds:
- There were different techniques in the Evidence Act to negate paternity and it is settled law that a clinical trial can’t be indisputable of paternity. In India, there is no extraordinary statute overseeing it.
- Neither the Criminal Procedure Code nor the Evidence Act enables the court to direct such a test to be made on these grounds.
The Supreme Court of India held that:
- As a usual result, courts in India can’t allow a blood test.
- Wherever such petitions are brought before the Courts, such petitions must not be accepted.
- There ought to be a solid prima facie case in that the spouse should set up non-access to prove the presumption emerging under section 112 of the Evidence Act.
- The court should cautiously examine what might be the outcome of requesting the blood test; regardless of whether it will put a tag of ‘illegitimacy’ on the child and the mother as an unchaste lady.
- No one can be forced to give a test of blood for investigation.
The Supreme Court found no trouble in maintaining the request of the High Court, affirming the request for the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore in dismissing the application for the blood test.
The Court said that the motivation behind the application is just to stay away from the installment of the maintenance with no grounds. Likewise, the Criminal appeal was also dismissed.
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