From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Right to Privacy
Mains level : Read the attached story
Central idea: The Supreme Court of India has ruled that children have the right to protect their genetic information from being revealed in DNA tests without their consent.
Right to protect Genetic Information
- The right to protect genetic information is a fundamental right that recognizes an individual’s autonomy and control over their own personal and intimate genetic data.
- It allows individuals to make informed decisions about their health, privacy, and identity.
- In India, the Supreme Court has also held that children have the right to protect their genetic information from DNA testing in divorce proceedings, as it is part of their fundamental right to privacy.
- This is guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
- This right is recognized under various international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Key takeaways from the Judgment
- The court ruled that-
- Genetic information is personal and intimate
- Children have the right to privacy and bodily integrity
- Children are not to be regarded like material objects and should not become the focal point of the battle between spouses
- Allowing DNA tests would also harm the reputation and dignity of the mother
Basis of this judgment
- The court drew attention to the rights of privacy, autonomy and identity recognised under the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- It acknowledged the control that individuals, including children, have over their own personal boundaries and the means by which they define who they are in relation to other people.
- Children are not to be deprived of this entitlement to influence and understand their sense of self simply by virtue of being children.
How can one get the tests done?
- Family courts should direct for a DNA test only in expedient situations and in the interest of justice, as a last resort, said the judgment.
- This should be practised as the option of last resort.
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