First Published on CNN
*Image Courtesy – http://www.robertmasters.org/paternity-fraud/
In India, the adultery laws are women-friendly. Even though Indian husband can get a divorce for his wife’s adultery but proving adultery under the same legal framework is next to impossible. It can only be proved if a competent court orders DNA test of the child born outside the marriage or the wife lives with someone else. But no court can legally bastardize a child and so DNA test order is given sparingly. Moreover, even if a wife is found to be in adultery, she can not be punished under the existing Indian laws.
There are many cases that are coming up to Indian men’s rights groups where men do not get any legal recourse for paternity fraud by their wife and ultimately has to settle for divorce by paying maintenance to the child and even to their wife at times.
Paternity Fraud resulting out of this adultery by the wife is a crime that affects children the most. In Indian society, pre-marital or extra-marital affairs is no more a taboo and hence women enjoy sex in every possible way they want. However, it is the men who have to undergo extreme cruelty under each of these cases. They are either termed rapists later or bear with paternity fraud about their children.
Children being young do not understand the impact in the initial years and they take their mother’s words to be true for their paternity. Many times they need to accept someone other than their biological father as their own father and most of the time they accept this without any knowledge that they are being cheated by their mother.
With changing social scenario India needs to take this into cognizance and stop child abuse in the form of paternity fraud. Children deprived of their real fathers are forced to live with either their single mother or with someone else who doesn’t care about them. As a result, these children suffer from cruelty from their mother as well as their new father. These are the children who resort to crime and drug abuse at a later stage.
Paternity needs to be viewed as a child rights issue rather than a women’s rights issue. This child abuse needs to be stopped at the earliest and every child needs to be given a right to know the name of the real biological father. It is thus fruitful to conduct a DNA paternity test at the birth of every child as a compulsory measure to determine the paternity of the child to establish this right and stop this child abuse.
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