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Can the court compel me to do a DNA test?


DNA testDear Harold,

I am a married man and had a secret affair that ended after seven years. I walked away after realising that the woman had affairs with other married men who paid her bills (the same way I did). We had a heated argument last month when she demanded that I continue paying upkeep for the two children that I fathered. But I am not sure if I’m the biological father following her stream of affairs. Last week, I received a letter from her lawyer that she will seek a court order compelling a DNA test, which I feel is an infringement of my constitutional rights. Can the court force someone to undergo a DNA test?

Wycliffe, Mombasa.

Dear Wycliffe,

The DNA test is mainly ordered by courts to prove paternity. In determining such disputes, courts have an obligation to weigh the competing rights of the child and person alleged to be the biological parent towards ascertaining parental responsibility. In most cases, DNA tests are ordered following provisions of Article 53(2) of the Constitution that says the best interests of the child are importance in every matter concerning the baby. Constitutionally, there are no explicit provisions for compulsory DNA testing. The Children’s Act that also provides for parental responsibility also has no such express orders. However, some courts rely on Section 78 of the Children Act to order for the paternity tests. According to the provision, the court while considering any question with respect to the child may direct a report prepared by anyone it designates. A DNA test is just a medical report.

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