1. This is a Criminal Revision Petition to revise the order of the lower Court directing the petitioner to pay a maintenance of Rs. 20 per mensem for the child of which the lower Court finds the petitioner to be the father. The grounds urged for the interference of this Court are that the Magistrate has generally neglected the principles of legal evidence and proof and has admitted evidence that was irrelevant.
2. In a case like the present, where the question at issue is, whether a certain man was the father of a certain child, it is prima facie improper to accept without corroboration, the mere statement on oath of the mother who asserts the paternity. It is so obviously to her personal benefit and interest to secure a father for her illegitimate child, who will relieve her of the costs of providing for his maintenance that her evidence in such a case cannot but be highly interested, and it would be unreasonable and improper for any Court to act merely on her own word without some independent corroboration of it such as will' satisfy the Court that her claim is true. The lower Court has recognized this, principle and appears to thick that such independent corroboration has been established. But it appears to me that its view is wholly unjustified.
3. The lower Court relies first on a Municipal record of the birth of the child. In the first place, that record is merely a record of what the counter-petitioner herself said at the time of the birth. That is clearly no independent corroboration of her present statement. Further, that record, as it stands, does not clearly apply to the counter-petitioner, and her present amplification and explanation of that entry in Court so that it may now be held to apply to the counter-petitioner, is again no independent corroboration of her present evidence. The Magistrate is in error in holding that the entry was a matter which the petitioner had to explain away. It was for the counter-petitioner to give a reasonable explanation as to why she did not give the full name and description of the father of her child at the time of the birth. Consequently the Municipal record cannot be viewed as independent corroboration. Beyond it I find no sort of corroboration. The kind of evidence that one would look for to be given as corroboration in such a case would be evidence that at or about that time when the child was conceived, the petitioner was frequenting the society of the counter-petitioner, and had opportunities of access to her. (After examining the evidence the order proceeded.) The Magistrate's treatment of the whole of this case is decidedly defective. The fact that letters of which we do not know the contents, passed between the parties in 1918, which is the most he finds proved, is no corroboration of the fact that in April 1918, the parties had or could have had access to each other. It is quite clear that the evidence of the counter-petitioner is by no means free from suspicion, and there is no independent corroboration of her present story. No Court is entitled to infer from such unsatisfactory evidence that the petitioner was the father of the child. I am therefore unable to support the conviction. The order of the Magistrate must be set aside.
4. I direct that the order passed by the Magistrate be cancelled.