Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

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Recently the Supreme Court has voiced concerns over the increasing use of DNA to prove cases.

About Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA):

  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a set of instructions found in a cell.
  • These instructions are used for the growth and development of an organism.
  • The DNA of a person is unique, and variation in the sequence of DNA can be used to match individuals and identify them.
  • DNA technology, therefore allows for accurate establishment of an individual’s identity.
  • In addition, DNA-based technology helps in identification of victims in the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters such as earthquakes.
    • For example, DNA technology has been used to identify victims of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, and disasters such as the Asian tsunami in 2004.
  • Further, DNA profiling can be used in civil matters, such as parentage related disputes.

Precedents set by court:

  • Bhabani Prasad Jena, 2010 & Banarsi Dass, 2005: Precedents set by the Supreme Court through the years show that judges cannot order genetic tests as a “roving enquiry” ( Bhabani Prasad Jena, 2010) and they must balance “the interests of the parties” ( Banarsi Dass, 2005).
  • DNA tests should also not be ordered if there was other material evidence at hand to prove the case.
  • Ashok Kumar v. Raj Gupta 2021: The court said judges, before ordering a genetic test, should examine “proportionality of the legitimate aims” being pursued.

Source : The Hindu