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Kerala High Court Bars DNA Sampling of Adopted Children in POCSO Cases, Emphasizes Protection of Emotional Well-being

Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by News Desk

The Kerala High Court has directed that courts and subordinate courts should not entertain prosecutions seeking DNA samples of adopted children of rape survivors and victims in Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) cases.

Justice K. Babu’s verdict was based on a report by advocate Parvathy Menon, project coordinator of the Victims Rights Centre at Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KELSA). Menon argued that DNA samples were being collected to strengthen the prosecution case of rape, which could be successfully proved by positive evidence.

The court also issued guidelines stating that DNA tests from adopted children after they are given in adoption may imbalance their emotional status, which would defeat the purpose of the divine concept of adoption.

The court noted that rape as defined in section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and penetrative sexual assault as defined in the POCSO Act did not demand that the paternity of the child born to rape victims should be proved to establish the offence.

The court ordered child welfare committees to ensure that DNA samples of children given in adoption are taken before the completion of the process of adoption. It also directed all agencies/authorities involved in the adoption process to maintain confidentiality of adoption records, except as permitted under any other law for the time being in force.

The court observed that an adopted child cannot be violated of their privacy at any point of their growth, as a sudden revelation that they are an adopted child and a rape victim can imbalance their emotional status and result in behavioral disorders and aberrations.

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