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DNA Test of Accused should not be resorted to without appropriate requirement, Supreme Court

DNA Test of Accused should not be resorted to without appropriate requirement, Supreme Court

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that a DNA test cannot be ordered without adequate satisfaction regarding the need for this test.

In an appeal arising against the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha said,

“It (DNA Test) is a serious matter which should not be lightly to be resorted to without there being appropriate satisfaction for the requirement of such test.”

The appellants in the case were accused under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The allegation against the main accused was that he had obtained a fake caste certificate of the caste ‘Yanadi’ whereas he belonged to ‘Telanga’ caste. With the help of this fake caste certificate, it is alleged that the accused obtained employment as an Additional Assistant Engineer.

The accused was arrested after the registration of an FIR and was remanded to judicial custody. Subsequently, an application was filed before the Additional Junior Civil judge for conducting a DNA test of the accused as well as his mother and two brothers.

This application was allowed by the Judge. It was challenged before the High Court by the appellants. However, the High Court refused to quash the order allowing the DNA test. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant approached the Supreme Court.

While the Counsel for the Police argued that they had rightly requested for DNA sampling given that the same is provided for under Section 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Appellant opposed it. The Appellant argued that the order for DNA test was passed based on insufficient grounds and the investigation had not even been completed by the Investigating officers. It was argued that,

“The Investigation Authorities have not completed the investigation and as roving and fishing enquiry, they cannot be permitted to conduct DNA test on the appellant.”

The Court also pointed out that the order under challenge itself makes a note of the fact that the investigation was yet to be completed and material evidence yet to be collected. The Court made the following observations,

“There can be no dispute to the right of police authorities to seek the permission of the Court for conducting a DNA test in an appropriate case…

The police authorities without being satisfied on material collected or conducting substantial investigation have requested for DNA test which is nothing but a step towards roving and fishing enquiry on a person, his mother and brothers.”

The Court thus found that the order of the Magistrate was unsustainable and the decision of the High Court upholding the same was erroneous.

It, therefore, allowed the appeal and set aside the High Court judgment.

[Read Judgment]