Rights at the centre – Understanding the Interest of the child | 24th February 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the rights of children in the case of DNA testing.


  • GS2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections;
  • Prelims


  • Recently, the Supreme Court has held in a judgement that children cannot be mechanically subjected to DNA tests in each and every case between warring parents as a short-cut to establish proof of infidelity.
  • In this article, the writer sheds more light on this judgement and talks about the importance of child rights.

More on SC judgement:

  • The SC observed that the genetic information is personal and intimate as it sheds light on a person’s very essence.
  • The SC emphasised that “a child’s genetic information is part of his fundamental right to privacy.
Children have the right not to have their legitimacy questioned frivolously before a court of law. This is an essential attribute of the right to privacy. Courts are therefore required to acknowledge that children are not to be regarded like material objects, and be subjected to forensic/DNA testing, particularly when they are not parties to the divorce proceeding. It is imperative that children do not become the focal point of the battle between spouses” – SC

What is DNA testing?

  • DNA Testing (also referred to as protein testing)  is a method that takes samples of a person’s DNA, which could be their hair, fingernail, skin, or blood, to analyse the structure of that person’s genome.
  • DNA testing can help establish parentage (or lack thereof), ancestral history, and even help police investigate a crime scene.


  • In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the first charter of its kind ensuring basic rights to all children below 18 years.
  • Yet, as is well-documented, children, because of their vulnerability, often become victims of abuse of power by the very people who are entrusted with their protection.
  • The advancements in digital technologies have helped on many fronts, from registration of births, creating a legal identity to health care, but in its forward march, it should not trample on the rights integral to a harmonious upbringing of a child.

Way Forward:

  • While this judgement is a welcome move, a reading of the 1989 United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child shows that there are miles to go before every child in India is guaranteed “special care and assistance”.
  • Too many childhoods are cut short, and the maxim ‘every child has every right’ is often forgotten.
  • India ratified the Convention in 1992 and over the years several laws have been enacted to protect the rights of children though their implementation has often been dodgy, failing to shield them from abuse, violence, exploitation or neglect.
  • The principle of best interest of the child must be at the centre of every aspect of social behaviour and not just in custody disputes.

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