New Delhi, Feb. 25: Congress veteran N.D. Tiwari has moved Delhi High Court seeking to settle out of a court a paternity suit filed by a youth claiming the 89-year-old was his biological father. But Rohit Shekhar, 33, is not interested.
Speaking to The Telegraph at his Defence Colony residence in New Delhi, Rohit, a lawyer, says: “Why is he moving an application to the court? Why can’t he just come and hug me and declare to the world that I am his son. A DNA test (conducted as per Supreme Court’s directive) has already established that I am his legitimate son.”
Legal experts point out that an out-of-court settlement requires the consent of both parties.
Tiwari, a four-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and former Union minister, was governor of Andhra Pradesh then when the paternity suit was filed in 2008. It was the first of its kind case involving a prominent political figure in the country.
In his petition, Tiwari has stated that because of ill health and other reasons, he has decided to “better settle the dispute amicably out of court with the intervention of mediation”. The plea will come up for hearing on February 28.
Rohit says Tiwari’s gesture has left him confused and traumatised him further. “A part of me thinks it is a genuine gesture aimed at closure. But my head says it could be another ploy to delay, drag the case. There is nothing that prevents him (Tiwari) from holding a press conference or issuing a public statement declaring me as his son,” Rohit said, adding that left to him, he would seek an apology too.
“He owes something to my mother and my grandparents. My grandfather Professor Sher Singh, a Union minister, who is no more, had served as his political mentor,” he added.
Rohit had to run from one court to another as Tiwari sought to evade court orders.
However, the Supreme Court directed the leader to give his blood sample.
On July 27, 2012, the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, lab gave a sealed report that was opened and read in Delhi High Court. “Many thought that piece of evidence as a verdict but the trial continues,” Rohit said.
The lawyer said that as a child he used to be confused about the identity of the man who used to meet him and his mother secretly in Delhi and Lucknow. “As a child, I used to wonder, who is this man.” When he turned 11, his mother told him.
Rohit claims that in the confines of the bedroom, Tiwari showered him with affection. “He used to tell my mother, ‘Yeh hamara beta hai, yeh apna rasta khud banaega (He is our son. He will find his own way). The moment we stepped out, he was a different man.”
The young lawyer says once the case is settled, he would move court on another issue that has become dear to him.
“There are unequal power equations in the society and a child could be born out of gang rape, marital rape, a live-in relationship or a one-night stand. Why is the child born called a bastard? Why is the woman called unchaste? Words such as bastard, mistress, keep, concubines should be removed from our legal lexicon,” he said.
“I have suffered a lot when I heard Tiwari’s lawyer using these words for me and my mother. We bow before the judges and consider the judiciary sacred, so these words should not be used.”