N D Tiwari is Rohit Shekhar's biological father, says HC
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The DNA test on N D Tiwari has revealed that he is the biological father of a 32-year-old youth who today won a five-year-long legal battle on a paternity suit which the veteran Congress leader tried to scuttle from the beginning.
In a first of its kind case involving a politician in India, the Delhi High Court made public the result of the DNA test report, rejecting 87-year-old Tiwari's last ditch attempts to keep it a secret.
Tiwari had rejected the claim of Delhi-based law graduate Rohit Shekhar that he was his biological son.
The Congress leader had moved seven appeals in the Supreme Court and in the Delhi High Court, first refusing to give his blood sample and later trying to block the report being made public.
Declaring the result of the DNA test conducted at the Hyderabad-based laboratory, Justice Reva Khetrapal said, "As per the report, Tiwari is reported to be the biological father of Rohit Shekhar and Ujjwala Sharma is reported to be the biological mother."
Justice Khetrapal's order came after a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed Tiwari's appeal against the single judge's July 19 decision, saying "Not opening the DNA report may lead to a lengthy process".
In Dehra Dun, Tiwari refused to come before the media but circulated a press statement saying he has no grudge against Rohit and that there was a "conspiracy" to malign him.
"Due to my simplicity, at this point of my age, my trusted people hatched a conspiracy against me in a planned way. I have no remorse against them. My sympathy is with Mr Rohit Shekhar. I also have no grudge against Mr Rohit Shekhar," he said.
An emotional Rohit said, "Tiwari's legal troubles will mount now. He will pay for all the hurt he has caused my mother for so many years."
Ujjwala said,"It is upto Rohit, whether he now wants to add 'Tiwari' to his name."
Legal experts say Rohit can now seek inheritance rights and have a valid claim to the properties of Tiwari.
The 10-minute-long proceedings in the afternoon gave anxious moments to Rohit and his mother Ujjwala after Justice Khetrapal observed that the declaration of DNA test result can be deferred till Monday as she wanted to go through the order of the division bench.
However, Vedant Verma, the counsel for the youth, opposed the suggestion saying "Rohit has already suffered a heart attack. The result be declared open after taking my submissions on record that the appeal of Tiwari has been dismissed today morning with a direction that the result would be declared...".
"The absence of Tiwari's lawyer, despite the court's earlier direction, is another act of indiscipline," he said.
Senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Ujjwala, also sought immediate declaration of the result saying "the woman is also 70-year-old and every passing minute is causing mental agony to her."
The court, which recorded that Tiwari's lawyer did not appear, then asked the advocates for Rohit and Ujjwala to come in the chamber for desealing of the report and minutes later, declared the result in the open courtroom.
While announcing the result, the judge noted that "None has appeared on behalf of Defendant No 1 (Tiwari) though it is nearly 4 pm, nor any request has been made for an adjournment on behalf of defendant No 1.
"Accordingly let the sealed cover, received from CDFD, Hyderabad be opened and the report be placed on the file, which would be available to the parties only," she directed.
The lawyers told Justice Khetrapal that the division bench had upheld the earlier order to declare the DNA test result in open court.
Earlier, during the day, the division bench concurred with the order of Justice Khetrapal that the report cannot be kept confidential as the apex court did not order so.
"We are in agreement with the single judge that nowhere the Supreme Court in its order stated that the DNA profile shall be kept in a sealed cover till the conclusion of trial.
This DNA report is a piece of evidence," the bench said.
"The purpose was to cut short the controversy and to avoid an unnecessarily prolonged trial. If the sample is not opened now, it may lead to unnecessary cross-examination of the witnesses. We do not find merit in the petition, so it is dismissed," it said.
In his appeal, Tiwari had pleaded with the court to protect his "right to reputation," contending that the single-judge bench has adopted a "shortcut" to decide the suit and it would cause "grave injustice" to him.
Following is the chronology of events in the paternity suit filed by 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar in which the Delhi High Court today declared that he is the biological son of veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari:
Sept 13, 2007: Rohit Shekhar files paternity suit in the Delhi High Court.
Apr 11, 2008: Due to technical flaws, fresh suit filed.
Nov 25, 2008 : Single-judge bench of Justice J Reva Khetrapal summons then Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari to appear in person in her chamber on December 16.
Tiwari challenges single judge order under provisions of the CrPC exempting governor from coming to court.
Nov 3, 2009: Single-judge bench of Justice S N Dhingra dismisses Shekhar's case on technical grounds of limitation and jurisdiction.
Mar 17, 2010: Division bench of justices Vikramjit Sen and Manmohan Singh overrules single judge order and allows Shekhar's case to proceed as his residence was in Delhi.
Apr 7, 2010: Single-judge bench of Justice J R Midha asks Tiwari to respond on photographs placed on record by Shekhar and his mother Ujjwala Sharma.
Dec 23, 2010: Single-judge bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat directs Tiwari to give blood sample for DNA test.
Feb 7, 2011: Tiwari files appeal and division bench of justices Vikramjit Sen and Siddharth Mridul upholds order for giving blood sample.
Mar 18, 2011: Tiwari moves Supreme Court which refuses to stay the matter of conducting DNA test.
2011: Hyderabad's CDFD lab sends kits for blood samples of Tiwari, Ujjwala and Shekhar before HC joint registrar.
June 1, 2011: Ujjwala and Shekhar come to give blood samples but Tiwari backtracks.
2011: Tiwari appeals before single judge that he cannot be compelled to give blood sample.
Sept 23, 2011: Single-judge bench Justice Geeta Mittal says Tiwari's refusal is unjustified and malafide but he cannot be compelled to give blood sample.
Apr 27, 2012: Shekhar challenges the order before division bench of HC comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw which sets aside the single-judge order.
Apr 27: Tiwari asked to comply with court order and on refusal, blood sample to be taken with police help.
May 1,: Supreme Court refuses to entertain Tiwari's appeal and directs him to comply with its earlier order.
May 14: HC directs Tiwari not to leave the country before giving blood sample and orders CDFC lab to send kits.
May 16: HC directs Tiwari, Ujjwala and Shekhar to be present before its joint registrar on May 21 for giving blood samples.
May 26: Ujjwala and Shekhar give blood samples before joint registrar.
May: Tiwari moves Supreme Court vacation bench that he should not be compelled to give blood sample against his wish.
May 24: SC rejects his plea and granted permission that his blood sample will be taken at his Dehradun residence in the presence of district judge of the state, civil surgeon, pathologist, HC joint registrar, Ujjwala and Shekhar.
May 29: Tiwari's blood sample taken in Dehradun and sent to CDFD lab.
July 2: HC receives report of DNA test from the lab.
July 20: HC dismisses Tiwari's plea for keeping the DNA test report confidential.
July 24: Tiwari moves SC. Matter could not be listed for hearing.
July 27: HC rejects his plea not to open his DNA report.
July 27: HC opens DNA test report, says Tiwari is the biological father of Shekhar.