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‘Violates right to privacy, invasive to physical autonomy’, SC on DNA testing of two children



The Supreme Court recently set aside the Telangana High Court order permitting DNA testing to determine the paternity of two children in a matrimonial dispute, holding such a direction would be invasive to the physical autonomy of a person and also violate the right to privacy.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath said: “The trial court as also the revisional court had completely ignored the said factor and proceeded as if the children were material objects who could be sent for forensic analysis.”

It noted that the substance of the complaint was not related to paternity of the children of the mother, who claimed she had been forced to cohabit and develop a physical relationship with her brother-in-law, in a dowry harassment case with her husband and his brother.

The woman had lodged a complaint against her husband and his brother under Sections 498A, 323, and 354 and other ancillary provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The top court noted that the trial court allowed the woman’s application mechanically, on the premise that the DNA fingerprint test is permissible under the law. It said that both the trial and the high court ignored that the paternity of the children was not in question in the subject-proceedings.

It further added that merely because something is permissible under the law cannot be directed as a matter of course to be performed particularly when a direction to that effect would be invasive to the physical autonomy of a person.

The bench said: “The consequence thereof would not be confined to the question as to whether such an order would result in testimonial compulsion, but encompasses right to privacy as well. Such direction would violate the privacy right of the persons subjected to such tests and could be prejudicial to the future of the two children who were also sought to be brought within the ambit of the trial court’s direction.”

In February 2017, the high court had ordered a DNA test on the claim made by the mother of two children. The woman had filed an application under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act with the appeal seeking direction to obtain an expert opinion for the DNA fingerprint test comparing blood samples of her two daughters. The trial court allowed her plea, which was challenged by her husband and his brother before the high court. The high court held that such a DNA fingerprint test was permitted under Sections 53, 53A and 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).A

Setting aside the high court order, the top court said: “The judgment under appeal, blood sampling of the children was directed, who were not parties to the proceeding nor were their status required to be examined in the complaint of the respondent no.2. This raised doubt on their legitimacy of being borne to legally wedded parents and such directions, if carried out, have the potential of exposing them to inheritance related complication.”


Man hiding $90,000 between book pages held at Mumbai airport




The Customs officials at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai on Tuesday said that they seized 90,000 US dollars worth Rs 81 lakh from a passenger who was hiding them between the pages of a book.

According to the information, the Customs officials intercepted the passenger during the intervening night of January 22 and 23.

The official said that the man was intercepted on the basis of intelligence inputs. When his luggage was checked, it was found that he was hiding dollars between the pages of a book which he was carrying.

On inquiry, the passenger could not produce valid documents to carry such a huge amount of foreign currency.

The recovered foreign currencies have been seized under section 110 of the Customs Act.

The passenger has been placed under arrest under section 104 of the Customs Act.

The accused was produced before a special court in Mumbai which remanded him to 14-day judicial custody.

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Thackeray-Ambedkar ‘unity’ rattles Maha politics; MVA lauds, BJP trashes




Ending two months’ political suspense, the Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT) and Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) entered into a brand-new ‘Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti’ alliance here, coinciding with the 97th birth anniversary of the late Balasaheb Thackeray, on Monday.

Uddhav, 62, ex-Chief Minister and son of Balasaheb Thackeray, and Ambedkar, 68, the grandson of the Chief Architect of Indian Constitution Dr B. R. Ambedkar, jointly made the formal announcement of the new political tie-up intended to electrify the state political scenario, with plans to fight the upcoming BMC civic elections.

Addressing the media, Thackeray recalled how his grandfather, Keshav Sitaram, alias Prabodhankar Thackeray, and Ambedkar’s grandfather Dr B.R. Ambedkar were good friends and had followed the ideology of ‘Desh Pratham’ (Nation First).

“We are now coming together to safeguard the nation and raise the concerns of the masses. We will take decisions on the next political courses in due time,” said Thackeray.

Declaring that the BJP is trying to finish off political leadership with the help of central agencies like the ED, Ambedkar forecast that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership will end soon”, and the ‘Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti’ tie-up will work to save the Constitution and Democracy.

Thackeray claimed that the new partnership has been discussed beforehand with the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies comprising Congress-Nationalist Congress Party-Sena (UBT), while Ambedkar expressed the hope that the MVA would soon accept the VBA.

The duo – Thackeray, flanked by senior leaders like MPs Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant and ex-minister Subhash Desai, and Ambedkar, accompanied by state president Rekha Thakur and Mumbai chief Abul Hassan Khan – expressed confidence that the new force would prove beneficial in dethroning the Bharatiya Janata Party and would work in tandem with other political parties.

Confirming that Thackeray had discussed the partnership with Ambedkar, Congress state President Nana Patole welcomed the new ‘Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti’ alliance saying it will help the Opposition parties’ ambitions of dislodging the BJP in the state and Centre.

NCP leader Anil Deshmukh also welcomed the Sena (UBT)-VBA tie-up saying all parties have a right to make their alliances.

Sena (UBT) Chief Spokesperson Raut pointed out that the ‘Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti’ experiment had been carried out in the past and “it was the desire of the late Balasaheb Thackeray that these two forces should unite in the state”.

Asked what will be the impact of the tie-up in the upcoming civic polls, Ambedkar said it will work with other MVA parties, “will succeed and emerge victorious”.

In his first reaction, Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) leader and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde expressed his ‘good wishes’ to the new entity, while the ally and BJP’s leaders like Union Minister Narayan Rane and state President Chandrashekhar Bawankule trashed it saying it will make no difference to the party.

Criticising the tie-up, Rane asked ‘where is the Shiv Sena’ and ‘what has Ambedkar done for Dalits’, while Bawankule predicted that the alliance will not last long.

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Palestinian Prez urges US intervention to stop Israel’s ‘extremist measures’




Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged the US government to intervene to stop the Israeli new government’s measures against the Palestinians before it is too late.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting held at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Thursday.

While calling on the US to intervene to stop what he termed as “the Israeli government’s extremist measures,” the Palestinian President accused Israel of destroying the remaining chances for peace and stability in the region, according to WAFA.

Abbas briefed Sullivan “about the destructive measures and crimes that the new Israeli government is taking with the aim of destroying the two-state solution and the signed peace agreements,” according to the report.

The Palestinian leader said the US should stop Israel’s unilateral measures and violations, including the expansion of settlements, killings, storming of Palestinian cities and towns, and deducting Palestinian tax dues, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The Palestinian leadership will not accept the continuation of these Israeli crimes and will confront them and defend the rights, land, and sanctities of the Palestinian people,” Abbas told Sullivan.

Abbas stressed the importance of the US fulfilling its commitments to preserve the two-state solution, stop settlement activity, and maintain the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem.

He also called on Washington to reopen the US consulate office in Jerusalem and reopen the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) office in Washington, which was closed during former US President Donald Trump’s tenure.

Since early January, the tension between Israel and the Palestinians has been rising. Around 17 Palestinians have been killed, and dozens of others were injured by Israeli soldiers since the start of the year, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Palestinian officials have warned against the Israeli escalation against the Palestinians, particularly after the formation of the new Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which is the most rightist in Israel’s history.

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