Friday, 24 January 2014

Hindu Marriage Judgments

Voluntary consent of both parities required for valid marriage
Usha vs. Abraham
Filed under: Sections 18 & 19 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869
Appellant: Usha
Respondent: Abraham
Citation: AIR 1988 Kerala 96
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: K. John Mathew and K.G. Balakrishnan
This is an appeal filed challenging the order of the same Court allowing the petition for annulment
of marriage on grounds of mental disorder and incapacity to give valid consent for marriage.
Facts
Usha and Abraham, both Christians married in a church in Kerala. It was an arranged marriage
and both had visited each other before marriage. Abraham’s parents had also visited Usha and
they had an engagement ceremony before marriage.
Abraham’s case was that on the day of the marriage he noticed symptoms of mental retardation
in Usha. He claimed that when they were signing in the church records he noticed that Usha’s
sister was prompting the spelling.
After marriage, he realized that Usha was suffering from severe mental retardation; therefore, he
approached the ecclestial tribunal seeking directions for dissolution of their marriage, where his
request was turned down.
After two years he left for Sharjah and returned after one year when he realized that his wife’s
condition was not going to improve and that he was not able to lead a normal married life with
her. On learning about the civil remedy he filed a petition before the Single Judge.
Usha however denied all the allegations made against her and stated that they had lived together
normal married couples till her husband left for Sharjah. He also used to write letters and send
gifts to her from there.
However, his behavior changed after a few years of his return which eventually culminated in his
filing the petition for annulment of the marriage.
Several witnesses were examined on both the sides and the Single Judge appointed Usha’s
mother as her guardian. The Court passed an order of annulment based on evidence and stated
that Usha was a ‘lunatic’ or ‘idiot’ from the time of marriage and that she was incapable of giving
consent for marriage.
However, the Abraham’s allegation that his consent was obtained by fraud was not accepted.
Usha filed the present appeal challenging the order of the single Judge. She denied all the
allegations and stated that she was neither a lunatic nor an idiot and that the medical certificate
and the letters could prove the same.
To clarify the point as to whether she was lunatic or idiot at the time of marriage, she was
presented for examination before a medical board. The medical board opined that she was
congenitally an ‘idiot’ and that she did not suffer from lunacy.
Her intelligence was found below average. She was found not to be congenitally impotent and
that there was no gynecological defect. Abraham filed objections to the findings of the medical
board and examined a psychiatrist to support his case.
Observations of the Court
After examining the evidence given by the psychiatrist and analyzing the relevant literature on
‘idiocy’ ‘mental retardation’ etc., the Court observed that the important question that arose in a
case of this nature was that whether the parties were in a position to understand the
consequences of their acts.
In this case, Court proceeded to examine if Usha possessed the capacity to understand the
consequences of the marriage entered with Abraham. On this point, the Court opined that it was
clear from Usha’s evidence and the letters exchanged between her and her husband that she
knew the consequences of the marriage.
Further, after analyzing some of the previous judgments in this light, the Court held that voluntary
consent of both parties was necessary for a valid marriage but the contract of marriage did not
require high degree of intelligence. In order to ascertain the nature of the contract of marriage a
person must be mentally capable of appreciating that it involves responsibilities normally
attaching to marriage.
In a case where such an issue was raised, it was the responsibility of the other party to show that
because of the mental disorder the other spouse was unable to know the nature and
consequences of his/her acts.
After considering all the relevant judgments and evidence in this case, the Court held that Usha
knew that object and purpose of marriage when she entered into the marriage and that her
‘lunacy’ or ‘idiocy’ was also not proved and held that the marriage between Usha and Abraham
was perfectly valid in the eye of the law.
Therefore, the judgment of the Single Judge was set aside and held that their marriage could not
be declared null and void under Section 19 of the Indian Divorce Act and the appeal was allowed.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 18 & 19 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869
Cases Referred:
 I. Jayaraj vs. I. M Florence AIR 1978 Kant 69. Malimath J
 T. Saroja David vs. Christie Francis AIR 1966 Andh Pra 178
 Ranjuk Ranjan Das vs. Pranati Kumari Berera (1982)1 DMC 374: (AIR 1982 Orissa 37)
 Daniel vs. Salara ILR !1976) 2 Ker 357
 Ms. Jordan Diengdeh vs. S. S. Chopra AIR 1985 S C 935
unsoundeness of mind concealed at the time of marriage
Smt. Kiran Bala Asthana and another vs. Bhaire
Prasad Srivastava
Filed under: Sections 12 (1) (c) and 5(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
Appellant: Smt. Kiran Bala Asthana and another
Respondent: Bhaire Prasad Srivastava
Citation: AIR 1982 Allahabad 242
Court: In the High Court of Allahabad
Judge: Deoki Nandan
Facts
Kiran Bala filed this appeal against the decree dissolving her marriage with Bhaire Prasad
Srivastava by a decree of divorce under the Hindu marriage Act on the ground that she was of an
incurably unsound mind. Her husband, Bhaire had filed an appeal in a lower Court and had
claimed the relief of declaration that their marriage was null and void.
The Trial Court had also recorded the finding that the consent of the husband to the marriage was
obtained by fraud because he was not informed of the fact that Kiran’s former marriage had been
declared null on the ground that she was of unsound mind at the time of marriage.
At the outset of the hearing of the case, it was suggested that Kiran was of sound mind and it was
impossible to say that she was incurably of unsound mind. She had applied for a medical
examination. After considering the material placed before the Court, the Court had referred
Kiran’s case to the Lucknow Medical College for examination and observation.
Dr. Prabhat Sitholey, acting for Dr. J K Trivedi had prepared a report. This report stated that as
such Kiran did not seem to have any mental disorder, which may result in abnormally aggressive
or seriously irresponsible conduct on her part. It was further stated that she was suffering from
mild neurotic depression, which required medical treatment.
On receiving this report, the Court made an attempt to bring about reconciliation between the
parties. On the Court’s persuasion it was agreed that Kiran would get herself treated at the
Lucknow Medical College and obtain and submit a report of her mental condition after three
months. The Court further directed that it would be upto Bhaire to look after Kiran’s treatment to
the best of his ability and inclination in order to assure himself that her disease was in fact curable
and cured, or otherwise.
Thereafter, Bhaire agreed to take Kiran back with him as a measure of trial in order to make sure
that she was free from the disorder he had complained about. Kiran was also willing to go with
him and the Court ordered that after three months this appeal would be taken up. Liberty was
however given to the parties to apply to the Court for any directions or orders in the meanwhile.
However, about a month later, Bhaire appeared with Kiran in the Court for a direction that Kiran’s
parents may take her away to look after her since he found it impossible to do so in view of her
mental condition. Notice was served to Kiran’s lawyer and her father appeared in the Court. From
Kiran’s conduct and appearance the Court made a note of the fact that she was not keeping fit in
those days. It was clear that she was of an unsound mind.
The Court accordingly directed that Kiran should stay with her father for the time being and a date
was fixed for the hearing of the appeal. Thereafter, Dr. JK Trivedi of the Lucknow Medical College
was summoned in the Court as a witness in order to elucidate the facts and to give his expert
opinion about Kiran’s mental condition.
On the issue of the earlier report, Dr. Trivedi stated that he himself had examined Kiran earlier but
Dr. Prabhat Sitholey submitted the report because he had gone for leave. Before going on leave,
he had examined Kiran on just three occasions and had opined that she was suffering from
residual schizophrenia.
He further stated that he had examined the records of her treatment and the diagnosis was that
she was suffering from schizophrenia. According to him, this disease was curable if the treatment
was continuous and prolonged provided she stayed in a congenial environment.
Kiran’s lawyer contended that the finding of the Trial Court was based entirely on documents
produced from the earlier case between Kiran and her first husband, DP Asthana. These
documents showed that Kiran was an ‘idiot’ at the time of marriage with DP Asthana and it was
on this basis that the marriage between them had been annulled.
According to the lawyer, this evidence was inadmissible and could not be referred to at all since it
was irrelevant. According to him Section 13 (1) (iii) required that the mental disorder must not
only be incurable, but should also have existed at the time of marriage.
According to the lawyer there was no evidence to show that Kiran was of an unsound mind or
was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of her marriage and that the mental disorder was
such that it could not be cured.
On the other hand the main argument raised by Bhaire’s lawyer was that Bhaire should be
granted a decree of nullity of marriage on the ground that his consent for marriage was obtained
by fraud. The fraud was that the fact of the annulment of Kiran’s earlier marriage with Dr. DP
Asthana was concealed from him. According to the lawyer, if Bhaire had known that Kiran’s first
marriage had been annulled on the ground that she was mentally ill, he would never have married
her.
In response to this argument Kiran’s lawyer contended that it was not Kiran’s or her parents’ duty
to go out of their way to inform Bhaire of this fact. He himself should have found out whatever he
wanted to know. He had known Kiran for some time before the marriage and it was on account of
her good looks that he had agreed to marry her. According to the lawyer, if Bhaire had not made
any further enquiries it was not for Kiran or her parents to tell him why Kiran’s earlier marriage
had been dissolved.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the arguments and held that the facts regarding the nullity of Kiran’s
previous marriage on grounds of unsoundness of mind had been concealed from Bhaire.
Accordingly the marriage between the parties was fit to be annulled by a decreeof nullity under
section 12 (1) (c) of the Hindu Marriage Act.
The Court also held that even though it was not necessary to establish whether or not Kiran was
suffering intermittently or continuously from a mental disorder of a serious degree, the facts and
circumstances of the case clearly showed that Bhaire could not be expected to live with her since
she was suffering from schizophrenia, which was of a serious degree.
Held: The appeal was accordingly dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 12 (1) (c) and 5(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
R. Sankarnarayanan vs. Anandhavalli
Filed under: Sections 12 (1) (b), (c) and 5 (ii) (c) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: R. Sankarnarayanan
Respondent: Anandhavalli
Citation: AIR 1998 Madras 198
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judge: S. M. Abdul Wahab
Facts
R. Sankarnarayanan had filed a petition in the District Court for the dissolution of his marriage
with Anandhavalli on the grounds of mental disorder. According to him, he had not known
anything about Anandhavalli’s family prior to the marriage and during the marriage ceremony,
Anandhvalli’s father had concealed the fact that his daughter suffered from recurrent attacks of
insanity. Thus, Sankarnarayanan alleged that his consent for the marriage had been obtained by
fraud. He further stated that their wedding reception also could not be carried out because of
Anandhavalli’s behavior, which was strange, uncommon and odd.
After the wedding, Sankarnarayanan stated that Anandhavalli did not take any food, nor did she
talk to anybody. Her relatives and family members were the only ones who took care of her and
administered some medicine to her without consulting the doctor. According to Sankarnarayanan,
a local exorcist was also brought in and he smeared white ashes on Anandhvalli’s forehead to
drive out the evil spirit that was haunting her.
However, when she was taken to Sankarnarayanan’s house, her behavior became violent. When
questioned, her father confessed that he had concealed the fact that his daughter was under
treatment for recurrent attacks of insanity. After learning this, Sankarnarayanan sent a notice for
the dissolution of the marriage.
In the counter, Anandhavalli denied these allegations and contended that she was not suffering
from insanity or any mental disease. According to her, the marriage was conducted in the
presence of two advocates who were Sankarnarayanan’s friend s.
She further submitted she had been upset since her mother had suffered from a paralytic attack
and also because she was leaving her home. According to her, the treatment had not been for
any mental disease but only for the grief that she was experiencing.
After examining the evidence, the Trial Court found that Anandhavalli was suffering from acute
schizophrenia and had suppressed the material facts regarding the disease she was suffering
from prior to her marriage. Accordingly, the Trial Court allowed the petition for the dissolution of
the marriage.
However, on appeal, the District Court reversed the order of the Trial Court Sankarnarayanan
then filed the present appeal challenging the order of the District Court.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed that the District Court had approached the case from a very narrow
perspective and had concluded that Anandhavalli was not suffering from Schizophrenia at any
time. However, it was held that this conclusion of the District Court was contrary to the evidence
available on record.
Based on the opinion of doctors, the Court held that Anandhavalli was indeed suffering from
Schizophrenia, which was bound to recur at any time and her behavior could not be deemed as
normal. Hence, it was held that there was ample evidence to prove that Anandhavalli was ill.
Further, the Court held that there was no evidence to show that the facts about Anandhavalli’s
mental state had been disclosed to Sankarnarayanan’s parents or to him at the time of marriage.
Thus after a thorough scrutiny of the evidence, both oral and documentary, it was also concluded
that the fact that Anandhavalli was afflicted with Schizophrenia was suppressed and
Sankarnarayanan’s consent for the marriage had been obtained by fraud.
For these reasons, the appeal was allowed and the decree of the District Court was set aside.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 12 (1) (b), (c) and 5 (ii) (c) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Rajinder Singh vs. Pomilla, AIR 1987 Delhi 285
 Mini vs. James Koshy Alexander (1994) 2Mad LJ 487
 Kanchan Devi vs. Promod Kumar Mittal, AIR 1996 SC 3192
 Jayaradha vs. A.N. Mahalingam, (1994) 2Mad LW 690
 Shanker Ram vs. Mrs. Sukanya, (1997) 2 Mad LW 371
 Rajagopalan vs. Usha Rajagopalan, (1998) 1 Mad LJ 181
C.J.Joy v. Shilly
Filed under: Section 19 of the Indian Divorce Act
Appellant: C.J.Joy
Respondent: Shilly
Citation: 1995 A I H C 6313
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: P.V.Narayanan Nambiar
This is a petition filed by C.J.Joy for declaring his marriage to Shilly null and void on the grounds
that she was impotent and suffered from mental disorder during the time of and after the
marriage.
Facts
C.J.Joy and Shilly married in a church in Kottappady, Kerala. According to Joy, Shilly and her
parents had made a representation before marriage stating that she was of good physical and
mental health. Based on such a representation Joy had agreed to marry her. He then claimed
that during the marriage and immediately after it Shilly had shown serious symptoms of psychotic
disorder. Both of them had lived together at her place and during this period, they has been
unable to have intercourse due to her mental disorder.
Thereafter, they left for Joy’s house where they lived together for few more days. During her stay
there, Shilly had allegedly tried to commit suicide following which she was treated for mental
disorder as an in-patient in a hospital for about 60 days during intermittent periods. He also
claimed that all his attempts to have sexual intercourse with her had failed due to her frigidity.
Subsequently, Joy had approached the Eparchial Tribunal for declaring his marriage null and void
and later he also got the order affirmed by the Appellate Tribunal. He was however advised to
procure a decree of nullity from the Court as well. Therefore, he filed the present petition in the
Court seeking directions for annulment of his marriage.
Shilly also filed her objections to the petition. She denied all the allegations regarding her mental
disorder, attempt to suicide etc. made by Joy. On the other hand, she alleged that after the
marriage Joy and his family members had ill treated her which had caused her some mental
disorders and that the marriage had not been consummated because he had never taken interest
in cohabitation and for the above reason she asked the Court to dismiss the petition.
Several family members, psychiatrists and doctors were examined as witnesses to prove that she
was suffering from mental disorder during the time of and after the marriage. Witnesses were also
examined from her side who stated that she was fine before marriage and that she started
developing signs of mental disorder only after marriage.
Observations of the Court:
After examining the relevant documents, the Court looked into several issues such as whether
Shilly was impotent and ‘lunatic’ at the time of marriage, and if the consent for marriage had been
obtained by fraud. The Court observed that it was admitted by both the parties that the marriage
was not consummated and the evidence showed that Shilly was responsible for this.
After examining several previous judgments and evidence, the Court held that continuous refusal
of the wife to have the marriage consummated could be perceived as impotency. Further, it was
held that she was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of marriage and thus it was held
that the consent had been obtained by fraud.
For the above reasons, the Court allowed the petition and declared the marriage between Joy
and Shilly null and void on the ground that she was impotent at the time of marriage and at the
time of filing the case and that she was ‘lunatic’ at the time of marriage and that the consent for
marriage had been obtained by fraud.
Sections Referred:
 Section 19 of the Indian Divorce Act
Sarah Syla vs. Ivan Thomas George and Others
Filed under: Section 19 of the Indian Divorce Act
Appellant: Sarah Syla
Respondent: Ivan Thomas George and Others
Citation: 1995 A I H C 788
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judge: Srinivasan, Raju & A.R. Lakshmanan
Facts
Sarah Syla was married to Ivan Thomas George. She claimed that Ivan had been cruel to her
and that he was violent and abusive without any reason. Further, she claimed that respondents
2&3 (names not mentioned) had suppressed the facts about Ivan’s mental condition (paranoid
schizophrenia & chronic maniac depression) and the information about the treatment meted out
to him. The District Judge had allowed Sarah’s petition for dissolution of the marriage. Aggrieved
by the order, the present appeal was made before the High Court of Madras.
Ivan had filed a counter affidavit and denied all allegations. Sarah had mentioned about the
treatment given to him by Dr. Kuruvilla to prove that he was suffering from paranoid
schizophrenia. Several documents were also filed to show that he was admitted to the hospital for
treatment and that he was advised to continue drugs.
After going through the documents and the evidence submitted by Sarah, the Court confirmed the
order of the District Judge and allowed the appeal.
Sections Referred:
 Section 19 of the Indian Divorce Act
Dr G G Padma Rao vs. Swarajya Lakshmi
Filed under: Section 13 (1) (iv) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Dr G G Padma Rao
Respondent: Swarajya Lakshmi
Citation: AIR 1970 A.P 300
Court: In the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
Judges: Gopal Rao Ekbote and Ramchandra Rao
This is an appeal against the order of the Second Additional Chief Judge, Hyderabad, dismissing
the petition for divorce filed by Dr G G Rao.
Facts
Dr G G Rao filed a petition under section 13 (1) (iv) of the Hindu Marriage Act, seeking a divorce
from his wife, Swarajya Lakshmi, on the ground that she was suffering from a virulent form of
Leprosy. The petition was dismissed by the Trial Court on the ground that the parties had not
been married for three years as required by law. Against this order, Dr Rao filed this appeal.
Observations of the Court
Under the provisions of Section 13 (1)(iv) of the Hindu Marriage Act, a petition for divorce can be
filed by a party to a marriage, if the spouse had been suffering from leprosy for a period of at least
three years before filing of the divorce petition. Similarly, under13(1)(iii), a party to a marriage can
file a petition for divorce if the spouse was suffering from unsoundness of mind for a period of at
least three years prior to filing of the petition.
Interpreting these provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, the High Court held that the provisions of
Section 13(1) (iii) or (iv) required that for a petition to be filed under the sections, the spouse
should have been suffering from Leprosy or unsoundness of mind for at least three years, and not
that they should have been married for three years.
The High Court thus held that the Trial Court had erred in dismissing Dr Rao’s petition on the
ground that he and Swarajya Lakshmi had not been married for three years prior to filing the
divorce petition.
The High Court held that Swarajya Lakshmi had been suffering from a virulent form of leprosy for
more than three years prior to the filing of the petition for divorce and hence Dr G G Rao was
entitled to a decree of divorce.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iv) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Permanent Alimony in Special Circumstances
Naresh Kumar Gupta vs. Smt. Jyoti
Filed Under: Sections 12 (1) (a) and 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant:Naresh Kumar Gupta
Respondent: Smt. Jyoti
Citation: 2005 AIHC 1307
Court: In the High Court of Jharkhand
Judge: Hari Shankar Prasad
Facts
Naresh Kumar and Jyoti’s marriage was solemnized according to Hindu rites and customs. About
a year later Naresh filed for dissolution and annulment of marriage. He alleged that after their
marriage, Jyoti was brought to her matrimonial house and during her stay; she did not talk to
anybody, not even to her husband. It was also argued that she would not let her husband touch
her and when any indulgence for sex was made by him she would bluntly refuse by saying that
she had no interest in such matters. When Naresh, wanted to consummate his marriage with her
she slapped him. Thereafter several attempts were made to bring her to normal state of affairs,
but there was no improvement in her condition.
The marriage remained unconsummated. A few days after the wedding, Jyoti went back to her
family home and her father was informed about her condition. It was stated that Jyoti’s father
assured Naresh and his family that he would get her treated. However, there was no
improvement in her condition. When Naresh went to get her home, he was refused on the ground
that the occasion was not an auspicious one. When Jyoti came back to her matrimonial home,
her attitude towards her husband and her in-laws, did not change and she continued to abuse her
in-laws. Compelled by the circumstances, Naresh filed a suit for the dissolution and nullity of
marriage.
On the other hand, Jyoti denied the allegation of ill treatment and desertion. According to her
when she came to her matrimonial house after marriage with her husband, she started her
matrimonial life and the marriage was consummated. Her father had met all the demands of
dowry made by Naresh who had been given cash amount of Rs. 46,000/- through bank draft as
well as 20 tolas of gold ornaments, etc and in all dowry worth about 2 lakhs was given to
Naresh’s father. Despite this, he was not satisfied and started demanding a Maruti car and other
articles. Jyoti’s father was unable to meet these demands and because of this, she was driven
out of her matrimonial home. Jyoti also stated that her in-laws assaulted her and sometimes even
food was not given to her.
She further contended that she was a woman of sound mind and had never misbehaved with her
husband or in-laws. She was sent back to her father’s house with the warning that she should
come back only if she got the Maruti car with her. Ultimately, she went back to her matrimonial
home and she stayed there for about two months. A panchayat was also held and in which her
husband admitted that he had tortured her and promised that he would mete out proper treatment
henceforth. However, things had not improved and she was driven out of her matrimonial home.
She had then filed a case under section 498-A, Indian Penal Code against her husband and
others.
After careful scrutiny of the evidence, the Trial Court came to the conclusion that Jyoti was not
suffering from any mental abnormality and accordingly dismissed the suit. Naresh then field this
appeal challenging the judgement of the Trial Court.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the evidence extended by both the parties. The Court pointed out that
neither Naresh’s mother nor father had been examined as witnesses. The Court further held that
only such persons had been examined on behalf of Naresh who would have seen things in a
casual light. These witnesses did not really know the private details of what took place in the
household since they were not living with him. According to the Court Jyoti had not been
subjected to any medical test and no evidence had been brought on record which showed that
she was suffering from a mental disorder. With respect to the contention that marriage had not
been consummated, the Court held that the wife had denied this allegation and therefore nothing
could be concluded with this regard.
According to the Court, the evidence given by the witnesses on behalf of Jyoti showed that the
demand of the Maruti car and its non-fulfillment was the cause of tense relations between Naresh
and Jyoti. On the basis of this evidence, no case for grant of divorce or nullity of marriage was
made out.
At the end of the argument, Naresh’s lawyer had stated that since both the sides had been living
separately for the past 11-12 years and there was no chance of their living together now, it was
better that the prayer for divorce was allowed. The Court considered this argument and held that
it was quite clear that Jyoti and Naresh had been living separately for the last 12-13 years and
there was no chance of their re-union. Therefore, the best course would be to grant the decree of
divorce so that both of them could live their lives in their own way. In light of this reason, the Court
allowed the appeal of decree of divorce under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. However,
Naresh was directed to pay rupees one lakh fifty thousand to Jyoti as permanent alimony within a
period of three months.
Held:The appeal was accordingly allowed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 12 (1) (a), 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Smt. Narinder Kaur vs. Parshotam Singh, AIR 1988 Del 222
 Muthuraj Koilpillai vs. Esther Victoria Kannammal, AIR 1970 Mad 237
Medical Examination to Test Mental condition -degree of mental illness -High court
and supreme court judgments
Joseph Augusthy vs. Mary Elizabeth Mathew
Filed under: Section 18 of the Divorce Act, 1869
Appellant: Joseph Augusthy
Respondent: Mary Elizabeth Mathew
Citation: 1998 AIHC 2253
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: AR Lakshmanan and KV Sankaranarayanan
Facts
Joseph Augusthy filed this appeal asking for a decree of nullity of the marriage between him and
his wife, Mary Elizabeth Mathew. His main contention was that Mary’s neurological disorder and
mental illness was concealed from him at the time of marriage and a fraud was played on him.
According to Joseph, Mary had been suffering from neurological disorder and had been under
treatment for some time even prior to the marriage and she and her parents purposely concealed
this fact from him.
In the High Court, Mary resisted the allegations. When the matter was pending before the Single
Judge, Joseph suggested the names of two doctors as witnesses, Dr Madhusoodanan and Dr
Anandakumar. However, they had not been examined because Joseph was of the opinion that an
impartial opinion could not be obtained by them.
In these circumstances, Joseph moved a petition praying that Mary should be examined by a
Board of experts. Mary filed a counter-affidavit stating that there was no need for her to be
examined by a medical board since there was no evidence to show that she was suffering from a
neurological or psychiatric disorder.
The Single Judge however rejected Joseph’s request to have a Medical Board examine Mary.
The Judge while passing the order remarked that even though several allegations were made in
the affidavit filed in support of the petition, the evidence given by Joseph and his father did not
support the allegations and there was no need to get Mary examined by the Medical Board.
Challenging that order Joseph then filed the current appeal before the higher bench at the High
Court.
Thereafter, Joseph agreed to suggest names of doctors for constituting the Medical Board for
examining Mary. Mary’s lawyer also submitted that if a panel was constituted by the Court, then
Dr. Madhusoodanan, who was Mary’s doctor, should also be made a member of the Medical
Board. Joseph had no objection to that. When the case came up for hearing Joseph gave the
names of five doctors to constitute the Medical Board.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed that in such a case, it was always better if Mary volunteered for the medical
examination. However, because a panel had been suggested by Joseph, Mary would submit
herself to this Medical Board for examination.
The Court further held that out of the five doctors, three doctors would form a quorum and of
these three doctors, Dr. Madhusoodanan shall be a member for conducting the medical
examination. The Court also directed that the expenses for this medical examination should be
borne by Joseph. The Court also requested the doctors who constituted the Medical Board to
complete the examination within a period of one month. The appeal was accordingly allowed.
Difference between Mental Illness and Insanity to be Noted
Mohinder Kaur vs. S.S. Sabharwal
Filed under: Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Rule 17 of Code of
Civil Procedure
Appellant: Mohinder Kaur
Respondent: S.S. Sabharwal
Citation: F.A.O. No. 71 of 1979 Decided on 12.11.79
Court: In the High Court of Delhi
Judge: Yogeshwar Dayal
Facts
Mohinder Kaur and S.S. Sabharwal were married with two male children. Both the
sons however died. S.S. Sabharwal then filed this petition for divorce on the ground
that his wife was suffering from mental illness, which included schizophrenia, and
also on the ground that she had deserted him.
In order to support his case, S.S. Sabharwal stated that his wife had been suffering
from incurable insanity from the very start of their marriage. According to him, he
had continued to provide her treatment with the hope that she might be cured. He
also submitted the tickets of various hospitals, which they had visited for her
treatment. It was also alleged that Mohinder could not be left alone in the house
because she used to throw away the goods, cash, and jewelry from the house.
He also went on to state that Mohinder‟s mental state was so bad that one could
even suspect death at her hands. According to him, she might kill while sleeping or
administer poison without understanding the merits or demerits of her actions. It
was also stated that she was quite capable of leaving the house during a fit of
insanity.
However, Mohinder Kaur in response denied all of the above allegations. She stated
that it was her husband who was guilty of extending extreme physical and mental
cruelty towards her. She further alleged that her husband had started neglecting her
immediately after the first year of marriage and that he constantly placed
burdensome demands on her threatening that if she did not fulfill those demands she
would be forced to leave the house. She also stated that she was kept on insufficient
diet even during her pregnancy.
Furthermore, Mohinder claimed that their first child had died within 24 hours of birth
and her husband or his mother had not even bothered to visit her in the hospital or
enquire about her health. She also contended that when their second son, who was 4
years old, had fallen ill, her husband had refused to pay for his medicines and diet.
The son had then suffered from paralysis and during this time, she had taken care of
him all by herself. He had died at the age of 8. With respect to the fact that she was
of an unsound mind, Mohinder Kaur denied all the allegations and stated that she
was matriculate and had also worked on a part-time basis before her marriage.
At the Trial Court, the husband had presented evidence of psychiatrists who had
treated his wife. One doctor from AIIMS claimed that he had examined Mohinder
Kaur and had diagnosed her as suffering from schizophrenia. In the crossexamination
however, he had stated that he had only seen her twice but had made
the diagnosis of schizophrenia on the basis of the symptoms. He had also brought
the records wherein these symptoms were listed. In order to support the claims
made by him, S.S. Sabharwal had also presented the evidence of neighbors and
other doctors.
On the other hand, Mohinder Kaur‟s lawyer examined the evidence given by another
doctor of AIIMS who stated that he had treated her some time back but he did not
clearly remember her condition. He did not have any records with him. The wife‟s
brother also stated that his sister was perfectly all right. During cross-examination,
Mohinder admitted that her husband had never given her beatings, but she denied
the fact that she had been treated at the Willington hospital by a private doctor as
claimed by her husband.
At the Trial Court, the Judge considered two main issues; whether Mohinder Kaur
was insane? Whether she had left the house of her husband, and if so, to what
effect? After examining the arguments put forth by both the parties, the Trial Court
rejected the plea of desertion but found that Mohinder Kaur was suffering from a
mental illness, which was of an incurable nature and therefore granted the decree of
divorce to S.S. Sabharwal.
Mohinder Kaur then filed the present appeal against the order of the Trial Court.
Arguments made on behalf of Mohinder Kaur
The lawyer on behalf of Mohinder Kaur contended that in the plea submitted by S.S.
Sabharwal, it had been stated that his wife was suffering from incurable insanity,
whereas the evidence provided by him showed that she was suffering from
schizophrenia. The lawyer also argued that the issue considered by the Trial Court
was that whether Mohinder was insane but the finding had been that she was
suffering from a mental illness. Therefore, the lawyer contended that the finding was
contrary to the plea taken by S.S. Sabharwal.
Observations of the Court
The Court stated that Section 13 (1) (iii) had been amended in the year 1976, but
S.S. Sabharwal had filed the case prior to this amendment. The Court then quoted
Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Act before it had been amended and explained that prior to
its amendment, this section had not made any distinction between the mental illness
and insanity. According to the Court, the Trial Judge had given the judgment
according to the amendment whereas; S.S. Sabharwal had framed the petition
according to the Act prior to its .amendment
In this situation, S.S. Sabharwal filed an appeal seeking permission for amendment
of the petition. The Court allowed the application for amendment and permitted S.S.
Sabharwal to file the amended petition. The appeal was allowed to the extent that
the judgment and decree of the Trial Court was set aside and the case was
remanded to the Trial Court for trial on the basis of the amended petition. The case
was accordingly remanded.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Court Favours Weaker Party - Mental Illness - High court and Supreme court
judgemetns
Court Favours Weaker Party
 Pramatha Kumar Maity vs. Ashima Maity
 R.S. Shyamala and other Petitioners vs. G. Rajasekhar
 Gopalakrishnan Nair vs. Thembatty Ramani
Pramatha Kumar Maity vs. Ashima Maity
Filed under: Section 13(1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act
Appellant: Pramatha Kumar Maity
Respondent: Ashima Maity
Court: In the High Court of Calcutta
Citation: AIR 1991 CALCUTTA 123
Judges: A.M.Bhattacharjee and A.K.Nayak
Facts
Pramatha Kumar Maity claimed that his wife Ashima Maity was suffering from mental
disorder of an incurable nature. Pramatha stated that Ashima was violently aggressive
and a source of danger to himself and his family. Therefore, he filed for divorce on the
grounds of mental disorder.
Ashima revealed that she had indeed suffered from some sort of a mental disorder a few
years ago and was admitted for about a month in a Mental Hospital in Calcutta and that
she was now totally cured. The Trial Court had rejected Pramatha petition. Therefore, he
filed the present appeal.
Observations of the Court
It was noted that Pramatha had failed to collect evidence from his parents or any doctor to
support his allegation that Ashima was violent towards his parents and that she was
suffering from an incurable mental disorder.
Further, the Court while examining the relevant provisions observed that he failed to
prove that her mental disorder was of such a nature that he could not be expected to live
with her. The Court observed that Ashima was an uneducated person without any means
of support of her own, while Pramatha was a government servant who was not willing to
maintain her.
In view of this, it was also observed since Ashima was the weaker party locked in an
unequal fight, therefore, her plea should be accepted. In the present case, the evidence
was against the husband. Therefore, the Court did not interfere with the order of the
lower Court.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13(1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act (25 of 1995)
Cases Referred:
 State Bank of India vs. Amal Kumar Sen, 1988 Lab IC 1585: (1988) 92 Cal WN
846
 Dastane vs. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534: (1975) 2 SCC 326
 Kartik vs. Manu, AIR 1973 Cal 545
 White vs. White, AIR 1958 SC 441: 1958 AII LJ 671
 Bipin Chandra vs. Probhapati, AIR 1957 SC 176: 1957 SCC 48
 Sudhangshu Mohan Chakraborty vs. Life Insurance Corporation of India, (1988)
92 Cal WN 102
Quotes from the Judgment
"The legislature has not made unsoundness of mind or mental disorder, by itself, a
matrimonial fault unless the unsoundness is incurable and the disorder is such as to
disable(d) the person to become a reasonably tolerable matrimonial partner".
R.S. Shyamala and other Petitioners vs. G. Rajasekhar
Filed Under: Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code (5 of 1908)
Appellant: R.S. Shyamala and other Petitioners
Respondent: G. Rajasekhar
Citation: AIR 1995 Karnataka 228
Court: In the High Court of Karnataka
Judges: Kumar Rajaratnam
Facts
The R.S. Shyamala and G. Rajasekhar were married in Bangalore. After marriage, they
started living together in Bangalore itself and had two children. At the time this case was
filed, Rajasekhar had the custody of the children and both of them were living with him.
After about 17 years of marriage, Shyamala had left her matrimonial home in Mysore due
to certain differences between the couple. Rajasekhar then filed a petition for divorce
which was still pending at the Civil Court of Mysore. His contention was that he should
be granted divorce as his wife was a mental patient who could not be cured. He also
stated that Shyamala’s father had taken her to NIMHANS, Banglore for her treatment.
Thereafter Rajasekhar made an application to the High Court that both the cases should
be tried at Mysore. According to him, both his children were at school there and his
presence in Mysore was necessary so that he could look after them. He further stated that
he was working in the Department of Botany at Mysore, and the work involved teaching
because of which his presence would be necessary at Mysore.
The case of Shyamala was that she had been driven out of her matrimonial home and had
been forced to go to Bangalore to reside with her father. According to her she was ready
and willing to look after her children and live with her husband. She also contended that
Rajasekhar had managed to obtain certain medical certificates because of his influence
and for this reason, he had been urging that the case should be tried in Mysore.
Shyamala also stated that she was unemployed and was staying with her father because of
which she would not be able to afford the travel expenses if the case was tried at Mysore.
It was further stated that being a lady it would be difficult for her to stay overnight alone
at Mysore. Therefore, according to Shyamala the cases should have been tried at
Bangalore.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed that Rajasekhar had himself stated that his wife was suffering from a
mental disorder, which was incurable. In view of these allegations the Court opined that
Shyamala could not be forced to go to Mysore for the hearing. In view of this the Court
allowed the appeal. The case filed by Rajasekhar at Mysore was transferred to the Court
of Principal Family Court, Bangalore. The petition filed by Rajasekhar for the transfer of
the cases at Mysore was accordingly dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Section24 of the Civil Procedure Code
Gopalakrishnan Nair vs Thembatty Ramani
Filed under: Sections 12 (1) (a) & 25 Hindu Marriage Act
Appellants: Gopalakrishnan Nair
Respondent: Thembatty Ramani
Citation: AIR 1989 KERALA 331
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: V.Sivaraman Nair & M.Fathima Beevi
Facts
Gopalakrishnan Nair and Thembatty Ramani were married to each other. Gopalakrishnan
had field a petition seeking an order for nullity of his marriage on the ground that he was
epileptic and impotent and that the marriage had not been consummated for the above
reasons. The petition was allowed and Ramani made an application under Section 25 of
the Hindu Marriage Act claiming maintenance at the rate of Rs. 300/- per month till she
married again.
Gopalakrishnan filed objections that the application should not be allowed since the
marriage was null and void. On his behalf, it was argued that maintenance could be
granted only in cases of judicial separation or divorce. The Trial Court found that
maintenance was applicable in all cases of divorce, dissolution of marriage, judicial
separation or annulment of marriage. The Court then passed an order that Gopalakrishnan
should pay Rs. 150/- to Ramani until her death or till she remarried. Against this order
Gopalkrishnan filed the present appeal.
Arguments made on behalf of Goplakrishnan Nair
It was argued on behalf of Gopalakrishnan that the declaration that the marriage was
invalid implied that the spouses were never married at all. Further, it was argued that
maintenance could be given only to spouses of disrupted marriages and not strangers who
were accidentally drawn into a void relationship, which had no legal effect.
Observations of the Court
On the point raised on behalf of Gopalakrishnan, the Court saw no reason to accept the
argument and held that there was no dispute that the parties were married and that it was
a legal and valid marriage at the time till the Court disrupted it by a decree of nullity.
Further, it was also observed that the terms did not apply to a situation where the petition
was made stating that the marriage was not consummated since he was suffering from
epilepsy and that he was impotent. However, since that point was not raised in the present
appeal, it proceeded to look into the issue in question i.e grant of maintenance.
In this regard, the Judge held that Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act provided that
when the Court disrupted a marriage by its decree, whatever be its reason, it could order
for payment of maintenance to the disadvantaged spouse. In this case specially, where the
husband himself had demanded the nullity of the marriage due to his own fault, it gave
the Court all the more reason to direct him to ensure that Ramani is maintained by him
till she remarried or till the Court otherwise ordered
With this order, the appeal was dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 12(1)(a) & 25 Hindu Marriage Act
Circumstances or Essentail For Divorce - High court and supreme court judgments
- All Charges to be substantiated
Prithvi Pal Singh vs. Joginder Kaur
Filed Under: Section 13 (1) (iii), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Prithvi Pal Singh
Respondent: Joginder Kaur
Citation: F.A.O. No. 121 of 1982; Decided on 4.4.1983 (Unreported)
Court: In the High Court of Delhi
Judge: N.N Goswamy
Facts
The marriage between Prithvi Pal Singh and Joginder Kaur was solemnized according
to Sikh/Hindu rites and two children, a boy and a girl were born out of it. After about
6 years of marriage, Prithvi Pal Singh filed a Writ Petition in the District Court for
decree of divorce on grounds that his wife was suffering from a mental disorder to an
extent that he could not be expected to live with her.
In order to support this claim he alleged that since the time they had been married
his wife had behaved like a person of unsound mind. According to him, she would
start laughing, shouting and weeping without any reason and would often threaten to
commit suicide. He further stated than when he discussed this with Joginder‟s
parents, he was informed that she used to behave in this manner even before
marriage.
According to Prithvi Pal he consulted several eminent psychiatrists who diagnosed
her to be suffering from schizophrenia and opined that this disease was not curable.
He alleged that Joginder‟s parents had hidden facts regarding the mental condition of
their daughter from him at the time of the marriage and therefore it was a case of
fraud. It was also sated that even after the marriage she used to go and live with her
parents for long periods. As a result, they had lived together for only 5 years after
their marriage.
This petition was contested by Joginder Kaur who denied being of an unsound mind.
She admitted that she had been married to Prithvi Pal Singh and had two children
from the marriage. She stated that she had been well balanced before marriage and
during the entire period of their wedding. She also stated that she was open to
getting herself examined by any Medical Board that the Court would recommend.
According to her, immediately after the wedding Prithvi Pal Singh had started
demanding more furniture from her parents and his family also used to threaten her
that if she did not get more dowry from her parents they would get their son married
to some other girl who would give them good dowry. Despite this, she had tried to
adjust with her husband‟s family.
Prithvi Pal Singh‟s lawyer examined several witnesses including the statement given
by a psychiatrist who had treated Joginder Kaur by way of medicines and electric
shocks. According to him, on the basis of her previous doctor‟s prescriptions he had
diagnosed her as suffering from schizophrenia.
Several of Prithvi Pal‟s friends gave their evidence and stated that they had often
seen Joginder Kaur in a state during which she would be crying and laughing at the
same time. Prithvi Pal Singh also alluded to the fact that Joginder Kaur had written
suicide notes and this had caused him a lot of mental torture.
Joginder Kaur‟s lawyer also examined several witnesses in order to support her
claims. The most significant was the evidence given by a Junior Resident from AIIMS.
According to him, Joginder had come to him for her examination in order to find out
whether she was suffering from any mental disorder.
He further claimed that another senior psychiatrist had also examined her and
psychometric tests had been conducted on her in order to find out her mental
condition. He finally stated that, she was not suffering from schizophrenia at the time
she was examined. He also mentioned that schizophrenia was a serious illness but
curable.
The Trial Court did not find that Joginder Kaur was suffering from a mental disorder
of such a degree that Prithvi Pal Singh could not be expected to live with her.
Accordingly, the Trial Court dismissed the petition for grant of decree of divorce.
Prithvi Pal Singh then filed the present appeal against the order passed by the Trial
Judge.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the evidence given by both the parties. According to the Court,
the doctor who had diagnosed Joginder as suffering from schizophrenia and had
administered electric shocks to her had jumped to the conclusion without valid
reasoning. He had only examined her for one day after which, he had administered
electric shocks to her. According to the Court, the psychiatrist had also stated that
schizophrenia was incurable whereas according to the latest Medical literature
individuals suffering from this disorder could recover with proper treatment.
The Court held that Joginder Kaur had produced reports of her examination from
AIIMS, which showed that she was not suffering from any mental illness at that time.
The Court further stated that it had taken account of the fact that Joginder Kaur had
been subjected to lengthy and grueling cross-examination to which she had
responded in an alert and aware manner.
Based on the reasons stated above, the Court dismissed the present appeal and
upheld the decision of the Trial Judge in not granting the decree of divorce to Prithvi
Pal Singh. The appeal was consequently dismissed.
Section Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Smritikana Bag vs. Dilip Kumar Bag
Filed Under: Sections 12, 13 (1) (iii) and 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Smritikana Bag
Respondent: Dilip Kumar Bag
Citation: AIR 1982 Calcutta 547
Court: In the Hugh Court of Calcutta
Judges: Chittatosh Mookerjee and Ram Krishna Sharma
Facts
Smiritakana Bag and Dilip Kumar Bag got married according to Hindu rites and
customs. About six months later Dilip filed a petition for annulment of his marriage
with Smritikana under Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act or alternatively for
dissolution of the marriage under Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act. This
petition was filed in the Court of the District Judge on the ground that his wife was
suffering from a mental disorder.
It was alleged by Dilip that two days after their wedding he realized that Smiritakana
had „mental infirmity‟. It was stated that during one of the ceremonies, that took
place after the wedding, she was found to be of completely unsound mind. She was
extremely violent and aggressive. Thereafter she was examined by a psychiatrist,
who gave her medicines but she continued to suffer from mental disorder.
It was also submitted that a clinical psychologist, also examined her. According to
Dilip, since his relatives could not stay with Smiritakana in the same house, he
rented a separate flat and took her there.
Sometime later when her father visited them she abused him because of which he
fainted and had to be taken to the hospital. Dilip stated that he was unable to bear
living with his wife and had sent her to her parent‟s house. But one day when he had
come back from office he had found her in his house.
According to him she had continued to abuse and misbehave. He then got her
admitted in a hospital as an in-patient. While she was admitted there, Dilip had filed
a petition in the Court of the District Judge.
The Court had rejected the prayer for annulment of marriage on the ground that
Dilip had not satisfactorily proved that at the time of marriage Smiritakana was
suffering from any mental disorder. However the Court allowed the dissolution of
marriage under section 13 (1) (iii) of the Act. Smiritakana filed this petition against
this order of the District Court. She denied all the allegations made against her.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed that Dilip‟s petition for dissolution of marriage under section 13
(1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act was filed prematurely. The Court pointed out that
Dilip had filed the petition even before one year of marriage had elapsed and the
lower Court was not competent enough to entertain the Dilip‟s petition for divorce.
The Court pointed out that a Court has the discretion either to direct that the decree
for dissolution shall not have effect till the expiry of one year from the date of
marriage or to dismiss the petition.
It was also pointed out that not only was Dilip‟s petition prematurely filed, but the
evidence about Smiritakana‟s mental condition covered such a short period that it
was not possible to satisfactorily decide whether or not she was really of unsound
mind or suffered from a mental disorder of such an extent that Dilip could not be
expected to live with her.
The Court then went on to examine the evidence presented by the parties. According
to the Court, the allegations made by Dilip could not be taken seriously because they
had not been corroborated. Furthermore, apart from Dilip and his father none of the
other family members or friends who had attended the wedding had been examined
as witnesses.
With respect to the medical evidence, the Court observed that Dr Chakraborty and
Nandi had not been examined as witnesses and therefore, the prescriptions given by
them could not be treated as evidence. Similarly the evidence of other psychiatrists
was also dismissed because of a number of discrepancies in their evidence.
The Court however took into account the testimony given by Dr KP Chatterjee who
had been her doctor when she was admitted as an in-patient. According to him no
mental disability was detected in her.
Another point that was taken up by the Court was regarding the evidence given by
Smiritakana. The Court pointed out that she had herself appeared in the Court and
had answered the questions in a sane manner. The Court also pointed out that she
had been subjected to a lengthy cross-examination and even the lower court had not
recorded anything unusual about her behavior when she appeared before them.
In light of the above-mentioned reasons the Court set aside the judgment passed by
the Trial Court regarding the dissolution of marriage under S. 13 (1) (iii) of the Act.
The Court held that Dilip was not entitled to a decree for dissolution of marriage on
this ground.
According to the Court he had not been able to satisfactorily prove that Smiritakana
was suffering continuously or intermittently from a mental disorder of a serious
degree. Dilip and his father themselves had no personal knowledge about her state
of mental health before marriage. The Court also rejected Dilip‟s plea for grant of
judicial separation.
The appeal was thereby allowed.
Sections Referred: Section 12, 13 (1) (iii), 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Section Referred:
 Section 12, 13 (1) (iii), 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Sawita Devi vs. Pran Nath, AIR 1967 J & K 89
 Bowman vs. Bowman, (1949) 2 All ER 127:(1949) P. 353-356
 Bamford vs. Bamford, 1956 CLY 2831
 Nakul Chandra vs. Shyamapada Ghose, AIR 1945 Cal 381
Radhamony Amma vs. Gopinathan Pillai
Filed Under: Section 13 (1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955t
Appellant: Radhamony Amma
Respondent: Gopinathan Pillai
Citation: I (1990) DMC 434
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: K.P. Radhakrishna Menon and B.M. Thulasidas
Facts
Radhamony Amma and Gopinathan Pillai got married and on the same day,
Gopinathan took Radhamony to his house. According to Gopinathan, in his house,
Radhamony behaved like a „mad woman‟ and this made him quite upset. Because of
this, Gopinathan was constrained to enquire into her peculiar behavior.
The enquiry revealed that Radhamony was a „lunatic‟ and had been under treatment
for the same for several years. Thereafter, she was taken to a psychiatrist who
certified that she was suffering from an incurable mental disease. Gopinathan then
filed a petition praying that since Radhamony was suffering from incurable
„madness‟, he should be granted decree of divorce.
In response to this Radhamony filed a statement and asserted that these allegations
were baseless. The Court however, allowed the petition for decree of divorce.
Radhamony then filed the present appeal against the order of the lower Court in the
High Court.
Observations of the Court
The Court referred to relevant provisions of the law and then proceeded to examine
the arguments. The Court considered the statements of the psychiatrists who had
examined Radhamony. One of the psychiatrist had stated that he had treated her for
“Hysterical psychosis” when she was 14 and that proper management had cured her.
He also opined that if one was afflicted with such an illness, he/she could not have a
successful marriage at the time of the illness. However, the psychiatrist also pointed
out that just because Radhamony had an illness of this nature at one point in her
life, did not mean that she could not lead a happy married life.
In reference to this point, the Court took into consideration the fact that during the
time they had been married, Radhamony had conceived while living with
Gopinathan. Even though she had miscarried later, it showed that they had led a
married life together.
The Court also took into account the statement given by another psychiatrist who
had suggested to Radhamony that she should continue with the medicine since her
illness was likely to recur. However, he had also opined that Radhamony could attain
social recovery.
The Court also examined a statement given by Radhamony in which she had stated
that she had been treated by this psychiatrist for failing memory that had been
caused by the stress she had experienced due to her miscarriage.
The Court found backing for this argument in the letters Gopinathan had addressed
to his wife during this period. According to the Court, these letters proved that
Gopinathan had no case against Radhamony to the effect that she was an abnormal
individual. On the other hand, it was held that the letters showed that Radhamony
was capable of managing her own affairs along with the affairs of the members of
the joint family.
The Court held that the above-mentioned circumstances established beyond doubt
the fact that Radhamony was able to lead a normal married life. According to the
Court, the lower Court had not approached the case from the right perspective.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the order passed by the lower Court and allowed the
appeal.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Manisha vs. Pramod
Filed Under: Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Manisha
Respondent: Pramod
Citation: I (1990) DMC 540
Court: In the High Court of Bombay
Judge: A.A. Cazi
Facts
Manisha and Pramod cohabited for less than a year after their marriage. Pramod had
then filed a petition for divorce on the grounds that his wife was suffering from a
serious mental disorder because of which he could not be expected to live with her.
However, that petition was dismissed as it was premature and was filed before the
completion of the minimum time stipulated under the law. He then filed another
petition for divorce on the same ground. Next, after 3 years, he amended the
petition by adding the ground of cruelty. He alleged that due to his wife‟s abnormal
behavior he was being subject to cruelty.
The Trial Court had held that both the allegations had not been proved. Accordingly,
the petition had been dismissed. According to the Trial Court for about 3½ years
after the case had been filed, Pramod had not felt that his wife had treated him with
cruelty and had amended the petition only 3 years later. The Trial Court thus held
that this amendment had been added only as an afterthought and could not be taken
seriously.
Thereafter, Pramod filed an appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court. However,
he did not push the allegation that Manisha was suffering from a mental disorder. He
only took up the ground of cruelty. The Joint District Judge relied on a letter written
by Manisha‟s father to Pramod.
According to the Judge, the accusations made against Pramod therein had not been
proved and thus the matter contained in the letter amounted to mental cruelty. The
Joint District Judge had accordingly granted the decree of divorce to Pramod.
Manisha then filed the present appeal challenging the decision of the District Judge in
granting the decree of divorce to Pramod.
Observations of the Court
The Court held that the Joint District Judge had committed an error in relying upon a
letter that had not even been written by Manisha. According to the Court it cannot be
said solely on the basis of the letter that Manisha had treated Pramod with mental
cruelty.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the Joint
District Judge. Pramod was directed to pay the costs of this appeal to Manisha.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Joginder Kaur vs. Surjit Singh
Filed under: Section 13 and 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 Order 32 of the Civil
Procedure Code. 1908 Section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act
Appellant: Joginder Kaur
Respondent: Surjit Singh
Citation: F.A.F.O. No. 194-M of 1982, Decided on 25.15.1984 (Unreported)
Court: In the High Court of Punjab and Haryana
Judge: I.S Tiwana, J
Facts
Surjit Sing filed a Petition under Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955
seeking a decree of divorce from his wife Joginder Kaur. He claimed that Joginder
Kaur was not mentally sound and cited a number of incidents where Joginder had
behaved in an abnormal manner
Surjit alleged that soon after their wedding, Joginder had started behaving in an
abnormal manner and she would laugh and cry without any reason in the presence
of family members and visitors. Further, she did not have a sense of decency, would
urinate in the open compound in the presence of males, and sometimes would ease
herself in the living room as well. Instances of her misbehavior with neighbors and
visitors were also cited.
Joginder however, denied all the allegations and denied that she never suffered from
any unsoundness of mind or mental disorder. She further claimed that she was being
harassed by her husband and his family for dowry. She also stated that she had filed
a case against her husband under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code for
maintenance and a case for dowry harassment against her in laws.
The Trial Court granted a decree of divorce, against which Joginder filed the present
appeal in the High Court.
Observations of the Court
TThe High Court examined the evidence presented by Surjit in support of his
allegations:
Firstly, in reference to a tape recorded conversation in which Joginder was supposed
to have admitted that she was suffering from a mental ailment, the High Court
observed that Surjit had nowhere explained either in the petition or in his statement
as to under what circumstances and in what manner the conversation had been
recorded.
Besides, none except Surjit himself had proved that the recorded female voice was
that of Joginder. Even assuming that the voice was Joginders, the voice in the tape
only mentioned having undergone an electric shock after which some injections had
been given as treatment
Before the Trial Court Joginder had claimed that her husband had cooked up the
story that she was mentally unsound and she volunteered to have herself medically
examined by the Mental Hospital at Amritsar. She was admitted as an indoor patient
in the hospital for about 25 days.
The Medical Superintendent of the hospital had opined that she was not suffering
from insanity of any form. The senior clinical psychologist also gave his opinion that
no signs of insanity were found except that Joginder was excessively neurotic and at
times got confused while conducting the tests.
The Trial Court had however, doubted the validity of the evidence given by the
Medical Superintendent and the senior clinical psychologist but the High Court held
that the Trial Court had incorrectly rejected the said evidence. The Trial Court had
instead relied on the evidence of Dr. R.L. Narang, Dr. Ajay Kohli and Dr. Sarabjit
Singh.
The High Court however was not satisfied with their testimony, as they could not
even properly identify Joginder as the patient they had treated. Even otherwise, the
High Court felt that based on their testimony, it was not possible to conclude that
Joginder Kaur was suffering from Schizophrenia.
The High Court also observed that even the Trial Court had found that Joginder was
recovering from the disease and that under continued treatment she would recover.
The Court thus held that the decree of divorce granted by the Trial Court was wholly
unjustified.
Held: The appeal was allowed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 and 13(1)of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
 Order 32 of the Civil Procedure Code. 1908
 Section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act
Rekha vs. Ravinder Kumar
Filed Under:Sections 13 (1) (iii) and 28 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant:Rekha
Respondent:Ravinder Kumar
Citation:II (1993) DMC 331
Court:In the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
Judge:Mr. R.D. Shukla
Facts
Rekha and Ravinder Kumar were married according to Hindu rites. They lived
together as husband and wife and a girl child was born out of their conjugal
relationship.
Ravinder however, filed a petition for divorce in the Trial Court on the ground that
Rekha was suffering from a psychopathic disorder, which was later diagnosed as
schizophrenia. It was also stated that she was intermittently suffering from mental
disorder of such a degree that he could not be expected to live with her.
He submitted the following facts to show that she was suffering from mental
disorder: According to Ravinder, a few days after the consummation of marriage,
Rekha had suffered from a psychopathic disorder had lasted for 8 hours. It was
alleged that at that time, she had been talking incoherently and her behavior had
been irresponsible and aggressive. Her parents had been called and her elder brother
had taken her to her father‟s house.
Thereafter, she had come back to her husband‟s house after 15 days and had stayed
with him for 2 months. It was stated that it was at this time that she had conceived.
However, she had suffered from recurrent depression and during her pregnancy she
had started behaving aggressively and abnormally.
Thereafter she was taken to a doctor who had treated her and had also administered
electric shocks to her during the course of the treatment. It was further alleged that
after the delivery of the child, Rekha had not taken care of the infant and her
behavior had continued to be irrational and abnormal. Thereafter she was admitted
in a hospital at Vellore where it was discovered that she was suffering from
Schizophrenia.
It was further alleged that even after her treatment at Vellore she had not recovered
fully and was still suffering intermittently from the disorder. Ravinder thus stated
that he wanted a divorce on the ground that she was still suffering from an incurable
mental disorder.
In response to these allegations Rekha had accepted the fact that the doctor
mentioned by her husband and the hospital at Vellore had treated her. She however,
denied the contention raised by her husband that she was suffering from
schizophrenia. She further pleaded that her behavior during pregnancy had become
slightly abnormal because her husband at that time was living elsewhere and her inlaws
had mistreated her.
This had caused her irritation. She further contended that she had obtained a degree
of B.Ed as a regular student from a college and was presently taking tutorial and
coaching classes.
The Trial judge had held that Rekha‟s behavior was abnormal. Accordingly, the Court
had allowed the petition and had granted the decree of divorce to Ravinder. Rekha
had contested this order by filing the present appeal.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the evidence submitted by both the parties and also referred to
the provisions of Section 13 (1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Based on the
statements of the psychiatrists and other people, the Court opined that Rekha had
not suffered from mental depression and had not been aggressive.
After examining the evidence given both by the doctor and the psychiatrist who had
treated Rekha while she was at Vellore, the Court had concluded that some
abnormalities of Rekha‟s behavior could be attributed to the electric shocks
administered to her by the doctor. The Court held that these electric shocks had
been given to Rekha without any rhyme or reason.
According to the Court, the testimony given by the doctor did not inspire confidence
since he had claimed the he had not maintained any records related to Rekha and
had claimed to remember Rekha‟s blood pressure that had been recorded 4 years
ago.
The Court also considered the point forwarded by Ravinder‟s lawyer that Rekha had
not got herself examined at AIIMS and that this should be interpreted unfavorably
for her. The Rekha‟s lawyer had responded to this by stating that Rekha had wanted
to get herself examined at AIIMS but Ravinder had not given her the travel
expenses.
Ravinder‟s lawyer had also contended that since there had been a delay on Rekha‟s
part in filing the present appeal, Ravinder had married a second time and for this
reason, the present appeal should be held invalid. The Court however ruled out both
these contentions.
The Court also observed that Ravinder had not visited his wife in the hospital, nor
had he visited her at her parents‟ house where she had been living for many years.
Therefore, according to the Court, Ravinder Kumar was in no position to know
whether or not Rekha was suffering intermittently from mental disorder.
The Court also took view of the fact that Rekha had finished her education after she
had gone to her parents‟ house and had also been taking tuition for students. It was
also stated that during cross-examination Rekha had answered all questions
reasonably and there was no evidence that she was suffering from a mental disorder.
In light of the above-mentioned facts the Court, quashed the order given by the Trial
Court and held that Ravinder had not been able to show that Rekha was still
suffering intermittently from mental disorder. Therefore, the appeal was allowed
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Ajit Paul vs. Bessy Baby
Filed under: Sections 10, 15, 18 &19 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869
Appellant: Ajit Paul
Respondent: Bessy Baby
Citation: 1996 AIHC 1727
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
This is a petition filed by Ajit Paul for annulment of his marriage to Bessy Baby on
the grounds of insanity and physical underdevelopment of his wife.
Facts
Ajit Paul and Bessy Baby, both belonging to Syrian Christian community married in a
church in Muvattupuzha, Kerala. Ajit alleges that Bessy stayed with him for only 15
days after which she went back to her parents‟ house. According to him, Bessy is
schizophrenic, physically underdeveloped and impotent and that these facts were
concealed from him before marriage. Further, he stated that due to the physical and
mental deficiencies, Bessy refused to have sexual intercourse and the marriage had
not been consummated.
Bessy on the other hand denied the allegations and stated that her husband was not
interested in normal sexual intercourse and was interested in only oral sex. Her claim
was that deprivation of normal sexual intercourse coupled with insistence only on
oral sex amounted to physical and mental cruelty entitling her to a decree of divorce.
Observations of the Court
With regards to the first point as to whether Bessy was schizophrenic at the time of
marriage and if she was physically underdeveloped and frigid and if the fact was
concealed from him before marriage, the Court observed that no evidence to support
such allegation was produced before the Court. Further it was noted that no medical
evidence or prescription to corroborate the same has been produced. Bessy had
stated that she had been examined by two psychiatrists and a gynecologist who had
certified her to be normal. Therefore, the Court found that there was no evidence to
prove the alleged insanity of Bessy and the fraud by her and her family.
The Court then proceeded to examine whether the wife was entitled to divorce on
the ground of cruelty in a petition that is filed for annulment of marriage. The Court
looked into several previous judgments of various Courts and concluded that a wife
could seek a decree of divorce in a case of annulment on the ground of cruelty.
In the above circumstances, the Court held that in the petition filed by Ajit for nullity
of marriage there was no valid ground for allowing the petition and that the claim of
the wife that her husband had subjected her to cruelty was proved. Therefore, the
petition for nullity was rejected and the decree for divorce granted to the wife on
grounds of cruelty.
Sections Referred:
 Section 10, 15, 18 & 19 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869
Cases Referred:
 Reynold Rjamani vs. Union of India, (AIR 1982 SC 1261)
 Mary Sonia Zachariah vs. Union of India, 1995 (1) KLT 644 (FB)
 Mary Sonia Zachariah vs. Union of India, 1995 (1) KLT 644 (FB)
 Sm. Meera Guha, AIR 1970 Calcutta 266 (DB)
 Abbas Ali vs. Mt. Rabia Bibi, AIR 1952 Allahbad 145
 Sarah Abraham, AIR 1959 Ker 75 (DB)
 Smt. Kamala Devi vs. Amar Nath, AIR 1961 J&K 33 (DB)
 Prem Prakash Rubin vs. Smt Sarla Rubin AIR 1989 MP 326
Circumstances or Essentail For Divorce - High court and supreme court judgments
- All Charges to be substantiated
Mukesh Mathur vs. Smt. Veena Mathur
Filed Under: Sections 12, 13 (1) (iii) and 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
Appellant: Mukesh Mathur
Respondent: Smt. Veena Mathur
Citation: AIR 1989 Rajasthan 97
Court: In the High Court of Rajasthan
Judges: JS Verma and Farooq Hasan
This is an appeal against the order of the Family Court to pay a permanent alimony
p.m. to Veena. They had been granted divorce on the ground that his Veena was
mentally disabled.
Facts
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Family Court, Jaipur on a petition for
divorce filed by Mukesh Mathur. Mukesh was granted divorce on the ground that his
wife, Veena was suffering from a mental disorder. A permanent alimony at Rs. 350/-
p.m. was also granted to Veena under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
Mukesh was aggrieved by this grant of alimony while Veena made no grievance
against any part of the Family Court‟s judgment. The main question was whether
there was any ground to interfere with the award of permanent alimony to Veena
under section 25 of the Act.
Arguments made on behalf of Mukesh
 The first contention was that Veena was suffering from the illness even prior
to the marriage and therefore the marriage was voidable and could be
annulled by a decree of nullity under section 12 of the Act. On this basis, it
was argued that no permanent alimony under Section 25 could be awarded.
 The other argument was that the award of Rs. 350/- per month as permanent
alimony to Veena was excessive in the circumstances of the case. According
to the lawyer, the conduct of the parties and the state of affairs did not justify
the award, which he argued, should in fact be much less. His main contention
was that Veena‟s illness had been withheld from Mukesh before the marriage
and besides Mukesh‟s financial status did not enable him to pay this amount
out of his earnings.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined both the arguments and held that Mukesh had applied for
divorce on grounds contained in sub-section 13 of the Act, which treated the
marriage to be valid. According to the Court the first argument raised by Mukesh‟s
lawyer did not have any merit since Mukesh had obtained divorce on the basis that
his marriage was valid.
With respect to the second argument, the Court pointed out that it was on record
that Mukesh had accepted the proposal for marriage after meeting Veena prior to the
marriage. According to the Court, Veena could not be blamed for the marriage
ending in divorce.
Under these circumstances the Court did not see any reason to refuse the grant of
alimony to Veena. The Court then took up the issue of determination of the quantum
of the alimony. The Family Court had taken Mukesh‟s monthly salary to be at Rs.
1720/- per month. An amount of Rs. 350/- p.m. had been awarded to Veena as
permanent alimony.
Taking into account Mukesh‟s financial position and the prospects of increase of his
salary, the Court held that the award of Rs. 350/- p.m. as permanent alimony to
Veena could not be treated as excessive. Thus there was no justification for the
reduction in that amount. Consequently the appeal failed and was dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 12, 13 (1) (iii) and 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
Mamata Mishra vs. Subhas Chandra Mishra
Filed Under: Sections 12 (1) (c) and 5(ii) (c) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995 Section
19 of the Family Courts’ Act
Appellant: Mamata Mishra
Respondent: Subhas Chandra Mishra
Citation: 100 (2005) Cuttack Law Times
Court: In the High Court of Orissa
Judges: PK Tripathy and Pradip Mohanty
This is an appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts’ Act filed by Mamata Mishra
challenging the judgment of the Family Court, Cuttack that annulled her marriage on
the ground that she was suffering from mental disorder.
Facts
Subhas Chandra‟s case was that his wife, Mamata Mishra was suffering from organic
brain disorder and recurrent attacks of epilepsy prior to their marriage. This fact was
concealed from him and his family and thus the marriage took place fraudulently. He
further stated that during Mamata‟s stay in her matrimonial house, Subhas noticed
some abnormality and loss of self-control in her.
One day, at about 11 pm she fell in her bedroom and „lost her senses‟, which she
regained after a while. Some days later, she suffered from another attack of fits and
when she gained her senses she insisted that she should be taken to her parents‟
house otherwise she would commit suicide. It was further argued that Mamata was
regularly taking medicines in order to control these attacks.
She was also taken to the Assistant Professor of Neurology, SCB Medical College and
Hospital for a medical check up. Before the doctor, Mamata disclosed that she was
suffering from these fits for a year and a half, i.e. prior to their marriage.
When it was confirmed that she was suffering from epileptic fits Subhas had no
option but to file a petition before the Judge in the Family Court, Cuttack for a
declaration that the marriage was voidable and prayed for its annulment by the
decree of nullity.
Mamata filed her written statement denying these allegations and stated that her
husband had ill-treated her and demanded additional funds by way of gifts after
marriage. She also made an allegation of termination of her pregnancy by Subhas.
In order to support his contentions, on behalf of Subhas three witnesses were
examined, including the Assistant Professor of Neurology who had treated his wife.
Six documents, which included medical prescriptions and a letter, which was said to
have been written by Mamata, were also submitted. On behalf of Mamata as well
three witnesses were three witnesses but no documents were filed in support of her
case.
After considering the evidence on record, the Judge of the Family Court came to the
conclusion that Mamata was suffering from recurrent attacks of epilepsy with mental
disorder and this fact was concealed from Subhas and his family prior to the
marriage. According to the Court the marriage had been solemnized by playing a
fraud. Therefore, the Judge annulled the marriage by passing the decree of nullity.
Mamata then filed this appeal in the High Court.
Arguments made on behalf of Mamata
Mamata‟s lawyer contended that the Judge of the Family Court had concluded that
fraud was played by Mamata and her family members at the time of marriage,
without appreciating the evidence on record. He further argued that a petition for the
annulment of marriage could be entertained if this petition was filed within one year
from the date of discovery of the fraud.
According to him, in this case the so-called fraud was detected on 25.6.1997 but the
petition was filed on 13.7.1998, i.e. beyond one year from the date of discovery of
the fraud. Lastly, he also argued that the term „epilepsy‟ had been omitted from
Section 5 (ii) (c) of the Hindu Marriage Act by recent amendment. Therefore, the
Judge of the Family Court was wrong in holding that the marriage was solemnized by
playing fraud.
Arguments made on behalf of Subhas
Subhas‟s lawyer on the other hand, contended that marriage was solemnized on
18.6.1997 by suppressing the fact that Mamata was suffering from epilepsy.
Subsequently, on 26.6.1997, on suspicion, she was taken to the Assistant Professor
of Neurology for treatment and after investigation, it was confirmed that she was
suffering from epilepsy.
Thus, the fraud was detected on 1.10.1997 and the petition for the annulment of
marriage was filed on 13.7.1998, which was within one year from the date of
discovery of the fraud. He further argued that the amendment came into force at the
time when the matter was pending before the Court while the petition had been filed
much before that. According to the lawyer, it was settled by the principle of law that
an amendment would run prospectively and not retrospectively. Therefore, no
illegality had been committed by the Judge of the Family Court.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the evidence on record and held that there was no material,
either oral or documentary, before the Judge, Family Court that Mamata was
suffering from epileptic fits prior to or at the time of marriage. According to the
Court, in order toestablish that Mamata played fraud, the onus lay with Subhas to
collect convincing evidence.
According to the pleadings of Subhasand the evidence of other witnesses, the
disease was detected on 25.6.1997 and there was no material on record to show
that Mamata was suffering from epilepsy prior to the time of marriage. On the other
hand, a witness examined on behalf of Mamata had stated that he knew her from
childhood and had been present at the time of her marriage. After marriage, he had
also been to Subhas‟s house and had observed that both Subhas and Mamata were
leading a happy married life.
The Court also observed that in his cross-examination, the doctor had not stated that
epilepsy was non-curable. On the other hand he had admitted that 60% of the
patients who suffered from this disease were curable. The Court held that Mamata
was not suffering from incurable epilepsy. Therefore, it could not be construed that
she had played fraud on Subhas and his family.
The Court also examined the other two arguments extended by Mamata‟s lawyer.
With respect to the first contention that the petition for annulment of marriage was
not filed within one year from the date of detection of the disease, the Court held
that the petition was in fact presented within the specified time and thus this
argument was dismissed.
The Court also held that the amendment to the Act would have no effect on the
present proceedings since the case was pending before the Court at the time of the
amendment. Accordingly, the Court dismissed this argument extended by Mamata‟s
lawyer, as well.
A careful analysis of the facts and circumstances led the Court to conclude that
though the petition of annulment of marriage was filed within time and the
amendment in question had no bearing on the case, it was found that no fraud had
been committed by Mamata prior to or at the time of the marriage. As a result, the
appeal was allowed and the judgment given by the Judge of the Family Court was set
aside.
Sections Referred:
 Section 12 (1) (c) and 5(ii)(c) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
 Section 19 of the Family Courts‟ Act
VC Thomas vs. An Thomas alias Kunjumol
Filed Under: Section 18 of the Divorce Act, 1869
Appellant: VC Thomas
Respondent: An Thomas alias Kunjumol
Citation: AIR 1999 Kerala 1
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: KS Radhakrishnan and S Sankarsubban
This is a petition filed by VC Thomas for the annulment of this marriage on the
ground that his wife was mentally ill at the time of marriage.
Facts
VC Thomas filed this petition under Section 18 of the Indian Divorce Act to declare
that his marriage to An Thomas was null and void on the ground that she was of
unsound mind at the time of marriage. Their marriage had been solemnized at a
Church following which they lived together for 30 days. According to Thomas during
this period his wife exhibited abnormal behavior and mental illness.
Thereafter she was admitted in a hospital and was treated there for about 26 days
by Dr Ajith Thomas. Later, she was taken to the Medical College, Kottayam where
she was admitted for about 17 days under the treatment of Dr. John Mathai.
According to Thomas, his wife, Kunjumol, had been suffering from mental illness for
about a year and a half prior to their marriage. He also claimed that she was
impotent. Aggrieved on these grounds he filed an appeal for nullity of their marriage
in the District Court.
The District Court issued a notice to Kunjumol but she did not appear in the Court.
Later an application was filed for appointment of her father as her guardian and a
notice was issued to him. However, her father also did not appear. Subsequently the
Court appointed Smt. K Bhagyam, advocate as her Court Guardian.
She contacted Kunjumol and filed her objection stating that after marriage the
parties had lived together for 60 days and Kunjumol was not suffering from any
mental illness as alleged by Thomas.
It was also stated that after marriage, while Thomas and Kunjumol were traveling on
a scooter, Kunjumol happened to see a road accident and due to this shock she
became withdrawn and had to undergo some treatment. She denied the allegations
of impotency and unsoundness of mind that were made against her.
The District Court examined the oral and documentary evidence. No evidence was
produced by Kunjumol in her defense. The District Court rejected the ground of
impotency but allowed the petition after finding that Kunjumol was of unsound mind.
Emphasis was laid on the oral evidence of the doctor who had treated Kunjumol in
the Medical College, Kottayam as well as on the evidence given by Thomas‟s
neighbor. The case was then referred to the High Court.
When the matter came up for hearing at the High Court, the Court appointed AJ
Jose, Advocate, as Court Guardian. He had met Kunjumol at her residence.
According to him she was capable of leading a normal life; she was taking care of her
parents, cooking food and behaving properly.
Thomas‟s lawyer on the other hand contended that in the absence of oral or
documentary evidence on the side of Kunjumol, it should be presumed that the
allegations raised by Thomas for annulment of the marriage were proved. He also
relied heavily on the oral evidence given by Dr John Mathai who had treated her.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the arguments extended by Thomas‟s lawyer and held that even
though according to the evidence of the doctor it had been stated that Kunjumol had
a previous history of a similar mental illness one and half years back, there was no
oral or documentary evidence to prove that.
Even though a neighbor who had been examined in the Court had stated that
Kunjumol showed signs of mental illness at the time of marriage, nobody from the
Church or any other independent witness was examined to establish that. The Court
also referred to a previous decision of the Supreme Court in a similar case.
Based on the available material the Court stated that it was not in a position to hold
that Kunjumol was suffering from a mental illness at the time of or before her
marriage. However, since Kunjumol had failed to appear in the Court, Thomas was
given an opportunity to collect more evidence in order to establish that Kunjumol
was suffering from a mental illness prior to or at the time of her marriage. In order
to enable Thomas to do so the Court remitted the matter back to the District Court,
Kottayam. The reference was disposed of accordingly.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 18 of the Divorce Act, 1869
Cases Referred:
 Ram Narian vs. Rameshwari, AIR 1988 SC 2260
Devi Sharma vs. Chander Mohan Sharma
Filed Under: Sections 12, 13 (1) (iii) and 13 (1) (ia) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1 955
Appellant: Smt. Devi Sharma
Respondent: Chander Mohan Sharma
Citation: AIR 2003 Punjab and Haryana 327
Court: In the High Court of Punjab and Haryana
Judges: Vinay Mittal
This is an appeal filed by Devi Sharma against the grant of the decree of divorce by
the Trial Judge on grounds of mental illness.
Facts
Chander Mohan Sharma married Devi Sharma as per Hindu rites and ceremonies. No
child was born out of the wedlock. Chander Mohan claimed that during the wedding
ceremony, when they were going around the holy fire (pheras), his wife, Devi
Sharma had fallen unconscious when only four pheras had been performed.
According to him, the pheras had not been completed subsequently since the family
members of Devi Sharma had claimed that she was ill on account of an attack by
ghosts. Chander Mohan contended that since the wedding ceremony had not been
completed his marriage to Devi Sharma was null and void.
He also claimed that the abnormal behavior and acts of his wife since their marriage
amounted to such cruelty as per which he was also entitled to seek divorce.
According to him, he had worked in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the father of
Devi Sharma also worked in the same agency.
Chander Mohan contended that as a result of their professional association he had
been offered the proposal of marriage with Devi, to which he had agreed. He
however, alleged that he had not been allowed to meet Devi alone before marriage.
He further claimed that it was only after the wedding that he had found that Devi
displayed strange behaviors. .
In order to show that his wife was suffering from a mental disorder Chander Mohan
cited many examples, which included her very peculiar food habits, and the fact that
she did not know how to cook or that she used to cook in dirty utensils etc.
He also stated that during the period when they were married he had been posted
out of India to Surinam where he had found her behavior to be very upsetting. On
one or two occasions Devi had torn off her clothes, and had once asked him to
commit suicide so that she could get a job in his place in the ministry.
In response to these allegations, Devi Sharma submitted a reply in which she denied
all the allegations leveled against her by Chander Mohan. She stated that her
husband and his family had not been satisfied by the dowry she had got with her and
were harassing her because of this reason.
She further claimed that the marriage ceremony had taken place in a proper manner
and her husband had made up stories in order to nullify the marriage. Devi Sharma
also stated that she had filed a case against her husband and his family in the Trial
Court against the demand for dowry. Even her father had made a complaint against
the dowry demands to higher authorities.
The Trial Court had taken up the following issues:
 Whether the marriage performed between the two parties was complete as
per the Hindi rites and customs or was it voidable?
 If the preceding issue was not proved, could the marriage be dissolved on the
grounds that Devi Sharma had treated Chander Mohan Sharma with cruelty?
 Whether Devi Sharma was suffering from such degree of unsoundness of
mind that he could not expected to live with her?
In order to support the claims the lawyer on behalf of Chander Mohan Sharma
examined the evidence given by a psychiatrist who stated that Devi was suffering
from Schizophrenia. On account of this the Trial Judge had held that since her
disorder was incurable, the decree of grant of divorce could be allowed as per
Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. However, he had dismissed the
fact that the marriage was void and that Devi had treated her husband in a cruel
manner.
Devi Sharma then filed the present petition against this order of the Trial Judge. She
also prayed that since the marriage had been dissolved on the grounds that she was
suffering from a mental disorder she should be allowed to get herself examined at
AIIMS or PGI, Chandigarh. Subsequently, the Medical Board in PGI, Chandigarh,
examined her.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the arguments given by both the parties. The Court took into
consideration the report given by the Medical Board, PGI. Devi Sharma had been
examined using psychometric tools, and case history. Based on these tests and her
medical history the Board had concluded that she was not suffering from any mental
illness at the time of the examination.
According to the Court, the previous evidence given by the psychiatrist that Devi was
suffering from Schizophrenia was not based on any tests, reports or examination of
previous history. The Court also stated that Devi had been subjected to a lengthy
cross-examination on many occasions.
According to the Court, she had not displayed any peculiar behaviors during that
time, which also proved that she was not suffering from a major mental illness.
Furthermore, the Court opined that Chandra Mohan and his family had mistreated
her.
In view of these findings, the Court reversed the judgments passed by the Trial
Judge. The Court also dismissed the other two arguments made by Chander Mohan
viz., the marriage was void and that Devi had treated him with cruelty. The appeal
was thereby allowed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Circumstances or Essentail For Divorce - High court and supreme court judgments
- All Charges to be substantiated
Alka Sharma vs. Abhinesh Chandra Sharma
Filed Under: Sections 5, 12 (1), 13 and 13 (1) Hindu Marriage Act,1955, Hindu
Marriage (Amendment) Act, 1976
Appellant: Smt. Alka Sharma
Respondent: Abhinesh Chandra Sharma
Citation: First Appeal No. 72 of 1989; Decided On: 04.02.1991 (Unreported)
Court: In the High Court Madhya Pradesh
Judges: D.M. Dharmadhikari
Facts
Alka Sharma and Abhinesh Chandra Sharma got married according to Hindu rites
and rituals. They lived together for about 12 days after the marriage. After which
Alka went to her parents' house for a few days and then again stayed with Abhinesh
for about 7 days. Their total stay together was for about 19 days.
Within a year of marriage Abhinesh filed a petition under Section 12 of the Hindu
Marriage Act for declaring the marriage null. It was stated in the petition that soon
after the marriage, on the honeymoon night itself he discovered that his wife was
abnormal and erratic in behavior.
According to him, Alka refused sexual intercourse on the very first night and showed
all signs of mental unsoundness. He also stated that during Alka's second visit, she
became extremely uncontrollable and violent. At that time a psychiatrist had to be
called who examined her and stated that she was suffering from a mental disorder
called 'schizophrenia' and had been under his treatment even before the marriage.
Alka denied all these allegations. The Trial Court however found the evidence to be in
favor of Abhinesh and accordingly declared the marriage as null. Alka then filed the
present appeal against the order.
The main contention made by Alka's lawyer was that according to Section 12 of the
Act the mental disorder should be of such a serious nature that the person would be
unfit for procreation of children. It was further stated that there was no evidence to
show that Alka's alleged mental disorder was of such an extent that she would not be
able to procreate. Therefore it was contended that the Trial Court had committed an
error in granting the decree of nullity of marriage.
Abhinesh's lawyer stated that the mental disorder in a spouse was a condition that
would make him/her both unfit for marriage as also for the procreation and
therefore, if any one of the two conditions existed, it would be a good ground for the
nullity of the marriage.
Observations of the Court
The Court first analyzed the point if Abhinesh's appeal for nullity of marriage was
valid according to the relevant provisions of Section 12 of the Act. The Court referred
to several previous cases and also examined the nature of Schizophrenia as a mental
disorder by referring to its medical and legal definitions.
On the basis of these, the Court stated that the term 'procreation of children" should
not be construed in a narrow sense as to only mean the capacity to give birth to
children (refer to quotes).
According to the Court a sound mental condition was one of the essential
qualifications for marriage and unsoundness of mind could serve as a valid ground
for nullity of marriage if the appeal was made because the spouse was unable to
discharge his/her marital obligations because of the mental disorder.
The Court then went on to critically analyze the evidence given by both the parties to
establish whether or not Alka suffered from a mental disorder of a serious nature.
The Court examined the evidence given by Abhinesh and made a reference to the
following abnormal behaviors alleged by Abhinesh:
Firstly, Abhinesh contended that in the first few days of marriage, whenever he had
made advances towards Alka for performing sexual acts, she had repelled him and as
a result he had never been able to satisfactorily accomplish sexual intercourse. He
also stated that sometimes he had found that her face would terrify him and on
some occasions he had found her looking at him with extreme hatred.
Secondly, it was also claimed that Alka never paid any attention to the instructions
she was given and the questions she was asked. According to him she always
behaved and acted according to her own wishes. He had also found her chattering to
herself in solitude and whatever she spoke on such occasions was incoherent. Many
more such instances were stated in order to explicate this point.
Thirdly, it was also stated that on one occasion she had left the gas on and the
entire kitchen had been filled with gas. On one occasion, she had lost her purse.
Abhinesh also stated that at one time she had urinated on the 'veranda' in the
presence of his family members. An instance was also mentioned in which Alka had
attempted to assault Abhinesh in the early hours of the morning for no apparent
reason.
Abhinesh's mother and brother supported these allegations. The psychiatrist who had
examined and treated Alka also gave his evidence. He stated that prior to her
marriage she had come to him for consultation. He had also presented the relevant
entry made in his patient's register.
The psychiatrist had testified that during her first visit he had found her to be in an
excited state and had diagnosed her illness as Schizophrenia of paranoid type. He
also confirmed that he had paid her a visit after her marriage at Abhinesh's house. At
that time he had found her to be in a frenzied state, violent and crying.
The psychiatrist had also been cross-examined by Alka's lawyer. To specific
questions regarding the degree of mental disorder his reply was that Alka was a
100% schizophrenic patient. He however also admitted that when he had reexamined
her he had found that she had improved by at least 50%.
It was further stated that some electric shocks were also given to patients suffering
from this disorder and he had administered such shocks to Alka in the past. He also
believed that if proper environment and guidance were provided then she could
improve.
In response to these allegations, Alka claimed that on the first night of the
honeymoon she had been terribly upset because her husband had confessed to her
that his father had left his wife and was living with another woman. She also stated
that Abhinesh had further stated that in case a re-marriage or such an incident
happened with him, Alka would have to meekly submit.
According to her these disclosures had upset her and as a result she had been
nervous and fearful that night. However, in her written submission, Alka had
admitted that she had been getting treatment from the psychiatrist.
Alka's lawyer had strongly criticized the testimony given by the psychiatrist. He had
argued that the psychiatrist's testimony should not be given much weight because of
two reasons.
Firstly, because he was distantly related to Abhinesh and secondly because he had
shown over-zealousness by creating false evidence in the form of a prescription that
had Alka's name on it. It was further argued that the psychiatrist had known both
the parties and since he was distantly related to Abhinesh he should have told him
about her illness.
It was also contended that since the couple had lived together only for 19 days,
there would not have been enough time for Abhinesh to reach the conclusion that
Alka was suffering from a mental disorder of a serious nature. The lawyer also
argued that Alka had attained a post-graduate degree and was therefore highly
educated. According to him the allegations of a mental disorder were not true.
In favor of this point he also stated that since Alka had been able to withstand the
cross-examination and questioning in the Court, it was in his opinion quite clear that
she was not suffering from the alleged mental disorder.
After analyzing these arguments the Court opined that they could not reject the
psychiatrist's evidence just because he was distantly related to Abhinesh. The Court
further held that Alka had been suffering from some kind of mental illness and the
erratic behaviors described by Abhinesh were not mere trivialities.
Accordingly, the Court affirmed the decision of the Trial Court and granted the
decree of nullity of marriage to Abhinesh.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 5, 12(1), 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Ajitrai Shiv Prasad Mehta vs. Bai Vasumati, AIR 1969 Guj 48
 Mandkishore Shaligram Vyas vs. Munnibai, 1979 MPLJ 105, AIR 1979 Madh
Pra 45 Madhusudan vs. Smt. Chandrika, AIR 1975 Madh Pra 174
 Smt. Asha Shrivastava vs. R.K. Shrivastava, AIR 1981 Del 253
 Rajinder Singh vs. Smt. Pomilla, AIR 1987 Del 285
 Ram Narayan Gupta vs. Smt. Rameshwari, AIR 1988 SC 2260
 Whysall vs. Whysall, (1959) 3 All ER 389 (396)
 Bennet vs. Bennett, (1969) 1 All ER 539
 Pronab Kumar Ghose vs. Krishna Ghose, AIR 1975 Cal 109
 S.M. Anima Roy vs. Probodh Mohan Roy, AIR 1969 Cal 304
 Madhusudan Das vs. Smt. Narayani Bai, AIR 1983 SC 114
Quotes from the Judgement
" In context of Section 5 of the Act and the subject dealt with therein, namely to lay
down conditions for a valid Hindu marriage, the word 'procreate' has to be assigned
a wider legal meaning that is, according to me, capacity of a spouse 'to give birth as
also to rear up and bring up children.' A spouse although not sterile and medically fit
to give birth to children may still be unfit, due to his or her mental disorder, to look
after and bring up children."
George Joseph vs. Alphonsa alias Lovely Mathew and another
Filed Under: Section 19 of the Divorce Act (4 of 1869)
Appellant: George Joseph
Respondent: Alphonsa alias Lovely Mathew and another
Citation: AIR 1999 Kerala 25
Court: In the High Court of Kerala
Judges: Mrs. K K Usha and G Sivarajan
This is a case where in George Joseph approached the Ecclesiastical Tribunal for the
nullity of his marriage on the ground that his wife suffered from mental illness at the
time of marriage
Facts
George Joseph and Lovely Mathew‟s marriage was solemnized as per the rites and
ceremonies prevailing in the Syrian Christian Community. Within a year of marriage,
George Joseph approached Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Thalachery Diocese for nullity of
his marriage. The Tribunal declared the marriage between them as null and void.
Major Archbishop‟s Tribunal then sent the order for confirmation.
The main contention of George was that Lovely‟s family members were well aware of
the fact that Lovely was a „lunatic‟ prior to the marriage and that her insanity was
incurable in nature. According to him, Lovely‟s family members had fraudulently
concealed this fact from him before marriage and therefore his marriage with her
should be declared null and void.
It had been alleged by George that Lovely displayed abnormal behavior on the first
day of marriage itself. It was stated that at the time of the marriage ceremony
Lovely was overly talkative and was laughing continuously. He also contended that
the marriage was not consummated on the first night of marriage since Lovely
refused to have sexual intercourse with him on the ground that she was having her
menstrual period.
After the wedding, George found that Lovely was forgetful in nature and would start
talking about inconsistent matters without reason. In order to corroborate this
allegation many instances were cited. According to George, Lovely could not sleep at
night and once at night she started crying that she wanted to sleep next to her
mother and she even tried to open the door and run out.
About a month after the marriage, Lovely‟s father was told about her behavior. It
was stated that Lovely was then taken to the psychiatry department of a hospital
and she was admitted there. George also alleged that Lovely‟s father told the doctor
that Lovely‟s brother and sister were also insane. According to George, Lovely was
discharged from the hospital after three days and she came to his place after that.
He also stated that during the 16 days when they had stayed together, the marriage
had not been consummated because of Lovely‟s abnormal behavior.
It was argued by George‟s lawyer that when Lovely stopped taking medicines she
became ill again and ran away from the house. She was then admitted in another
hospital where she continued her treatment for the next 10 days. It was also stated
that she was violent during this time and she even tried to stab her father. According
to George, she was still undergoing treatment for insanity.
It had also been alleged that her mental illness had been inherited and besides her,
her mother, uncle, brother and younger sister were also suffering from mental illness
and this fact was concealed from him at the time of the marriage. Further, he also
stated that the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Thalachery Diocese declared the marriage
null and void. The order had been sent for confirmation to the Major Archbishop‟s
Tribunal.
In response to these allegations, Lovely filed a counter-affidavit in which she denied
all the allegations against her. According to her, their marriage had been
consummated on the first day of marriage itself and accusation that she had refused
to have sexual intercourse with her husband was false. She also denied the
allegations that she was taking medicines etc.
In the counter affidavit she made an allegation that her father-in-law had made
overtures towards her and even when she had complained about this to her
husband, he had not done anything about it. She further stated that because of this
reason she became upset and was admitted in the hospital for treatment. She also
claimed that on returning home, she stopped taking the medicines that caused
further trouble for her because of which she was taken to another hospital.
Lovely also submitted that the certificates issued by the psychiatrists showed very
clearly that her problem had started one month after the wedding and she had no
previous history of any mental illness. She also denied the allegation that her uncle,
brother and younger sister were suffering from mental illnesses. According to her,
the marriage proposal had come through George‟s sister who was staying at a
distance of only about 200 meters from her paternal home.
She also stated that she was not aware of any order that was passed by the
Ecclesiastical Tribunal. It was submitted that she was an accomplished girl who was
capable of performing her marital obligations. In order to substantiate this point
Lovely also stated that she had appeared for the Pre-Degree examination of the
University of Calicut.
The case went to the High Court and the Single Judge held that there was an
absolute lack of evidence to show that Lovely was mentally ill at the time of her
marriage. According to the Judge, no material had been submitted by George to
show that she was under treatment for a mental illness before her marriage.
The Judge also did not accept the contention that the consent for marriage had been
obtained in a fraudulent manner from George. According to the Single Judge, even if
Lovely had turned „lunatic‟ after her marriage, it was not a ground for decree of
nullity of marriage under Section 19 (3) of the Indian Divorce Act.
Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court of Kerala, George filed this appeal in a
Higher Bench.
Observations of the Court
The Court held that the main question to be established was that whether Lovely was
a „lunatic‟ at the time of her marriage, not before or after. The Court then went on to
examine the evidence to see whether it could be proved by George that she was
insane at the time of their marriage.
The Court examined the evidence given by the psychiatrists and held that in the
testimony of the psychiatrists there was nothing to show that she had been suffering
from any mental illness at the time of her marriage. The certificates and other
documents submitted by them only showed that she was suffering from some form
of mental illness after her marriage.
Similarly, the Court found that the evidence given by other witnesses – George and
his sister did not in any way show that she was a mentally ill person at the time of
her wedding. Finally, the Court examined the evidence given by a family friend of
George. He claimed that he had gone to Lovely‟s paternal home only once and on
going there, he had found her behaving in a very strange manner.
According to him, her father had told him at that time that she was suffering from a
mental illness. He also stated that her brother, sister and mother were suffering from
mental illnesses. The Court found it difficult to believe the testimony given by him
since there was not much evidence that supported his testimony.
On the basis of these arguments the Court held that the nature of evidence did not
satisfactorily prove that Lovely was insane at the time of marriage so as to get a
decree for nullity of marriage. According to the Court, George was also not able to
prove that his consent for marriage was obtained by fraud. Accordingly, the Court
affirmed the judgment of the Single Judge and dismissed the appeal.
The lawyer appearing on behalf of George had also contended that George was a
young person and after 16 days of marital life, he has been living separately from his
wife. According to him, it was unfair to expect George to continue in this state when
his wife was unable to lead a normal married life due to her mental illness.
The Court was unable to accept the above contention for two reasons. Firstly, the
Court referred to a previous case and held that according to that case, a court was
not empowered to go outside the contours of the Divorce Act for granting a decree of
nullity. Secondly, the Court held that evidence examined, did not show that Lovely
was of an incurably unsound mind.
The Court also mentioned the fact that for some cases where one of the spouses
becomes incurably unsound in mind, a decree for divorce may be granted under the
Hindu Marriage Act. However, the Court held that Christians in Kerala were still
governed by the provisions of the Divorce Act, 1869 and therefore even in cases of
incurable mental illness of a spouse after marriage, no decree for dissolution of
marriage could be obtained.
Sections Referred:
 Section 19 of the Divorce Act (4 of 1869)
Cases Referred:
 Mery Sonia Zachariah v. Union of India, 1995 (1) KLT 644
 George Sebastian v. Molly Joseph, 1994 (2) KLT 387
Ram Narain Gupta vs. Smt. Rameshwari Gupta
Filed Under: Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
Appellant: Ram Narain Gupta
Respondent: Smt. Rameshwari Gupta
Citation: AIR 1988 Supreme Court 2260
Court: In the Supreme Court
Judges: AP Sen and MN Venkatachaliah
This is an appeal filed by Ram Narain Gupta challenging the decision of the High
Court which reversed the Trial Court judgment dissolving his marriage on the ground
that his wife was a schizophrenic.
Facts
Ram Narain Gupta and Rameshwari Gupta‟s marriage was solemnized at Jhansi in
the year 1979. In the year 1983, Ram filed a suit for the dissolution of marriage on
the ground that his wife was a schizophrenic. In his suit, Ram pleaded that
Rameshwari suffered from a mental-disorder, psychiatrically recognized as
„schizophrenia‟, which was of such a severity that she was rendered unsociable and
was also given to violent propensities.
It was further stated that she was treated by the doctors at the Department of
Psychiatry at the Medical College, Jhansi. However, despite competent professional
treatment her mental condition continued to deteriorate to the point that she started
making suicidal attempts and displaying violent and aggressive behavior towards
others. Ram stressed the fact that her mental disorder was of such a degree that he
could not be expected to live with her.
The Trial Court framed the necessary issues stemming from the pleadings. Ram
called Dr. Ganesh Datt Shukla, Head of the Dept. of Psychiatry, Mahrani Laxmi Bai
Medical College, Jhansi to support his version. Ram also examined Gyasi Ram who
was an artisan and who claimed that during one of his visits to Ram‟s house for some
odd job, he had seen Rameshwari beating up small children and conducting herself in
a disorderly manner.
Ram Janki Prasad, who was said to be the private-home-teacher of Ram‟s nephews
also corroborated Ram‟s version. According to Janki Prasad there were oddities in
Rameshwari‟s behavior and she also displayed violent tendencies. Further, in order
to show that Rameshwari was a „violent-lunatic‟, Ram used the medical certificates
issued by various doctors. Ram also narrated certain incidents wherein Rameshwari
had exhibited unprovoked violence towards his sisters and had inflicted injuries upon
them.
Rameshwari on the other hand appeared in the Trial Court and also submitted a copy
of the order passed by the Magistrate in the proceedings under the Lunacy Act
initiated by Ram for committing her to a mental asylum. In those proceedings, the
Magistrate, after examining her, found no abnormality in her that would require
institutionalized treatment.
The Trial Court accepted Ram‟s case and recorded a finding that Rameshwari was
afflicted with schizophrenia, which was dangerous for her as well as for those who
lived with her and granted a decree for the dissolution of the marriage.
The case then went to the High Court and the High Court reversed the judgment
given by the Trial Court. The High Court pointed out that even though the evidence
indicated the possibility of some mental-disorder, the requirement of the law was
regarding the existence of the requisite degree and the nature of the disorder that
could alone justify a reasonable contention on Ram‟s part that he could not live with
his wife. This however was not established for this case.
The High Court also examined the literature on „schizophrenia‟ and felt that it would
be necessary for Ram to go further and establish the degree and severity of the
mental illness, which would satisfy the requirement of the ground for dissolution of
marriage envisaged in Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act. The High Court
concluded that Ram had not shown that the mental illness of his wife was of such a
kind and intensity to justify the dissolution of marriage.
The High Court also noticed certain shifts in emphasis in the two certificates that had
been issued by Dr. Ganesh Datt Shukla. The first certificate dated 18-5-1983 did not
contain any specific reference to the severity of the disease or to the violent
propensities attributed to Rameshwari which tended to endanger the safety of
others.
The later certificate dated 2-7-1983 however sought to supply this element. The High
Court also noticed that certain events had taken place on 1-7-1983, in the wake
which the certificate dated 2-7-1983 came into existence. The High Court referred to
the evidence on record, which disclosed that at 11.45 am on 1-7-1983, Rameshwari
had lodged an FIR with the jurisdictional police complaining that she had been
assaulted, first by her husband‟s nephew and then by the members of Ram‟s family.
Rameshwari also complained that Ram‟s sisters and mother had threatened to
extinguish her life by setting her ablaze.
The High Court further noted that an attempt was made to admit her to an asylum
the next day and the medical certificate was also issued the next day. The High
Court also evaluated the evidence of the artisan and the home tutor and pointed out
the intrinsic improbabilities of the evidence and consequent unacceptability of their
versions.
In particular, Janki Prasad, the home-tutor, had been unable to give Rameshwari‟s
description, i.e. her complexion, height etc. On this point the Court held that the
inability of the witness in giving Rameshwari‟s physical description showed that his
entire statement was a tutored one.
The High Court also referred to Rameshwari‟s grievance that the environment of
hostility and harassment to which she had been subjected to by Ram‟s sisters and
parents had taken its toll and had rendered her apprehensive and irritable. The High
Court held that Rameshwari‟s case had to be seen against this background.
Accordingly, the High Court reversed the judgment of dissolution of marriage passed
by the Trial Court.
Ram then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the High
Court in not granting the decree of dissolution of marriage.
Observations of the Court
The Court considered the evidence of the case along with the literature on mental
health. The Court held that mere branding of a person as schizophrenic would not be
enough for the grant of divorce. The appeal was accordingly dismissed and the Court
upheld the judgment of the High Court.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1995
Cases Referred:
 Mc Loughin vs. O‟ Brain, (1983) 1 AC 410: (1982) 2 All ER 298: (1982) 2
WLR 982
 Smt. Rita Roy vs. Sitesh Chandra, AIR 1982 Cal 138
 Bennett vs. Bennett, (1969) 1 All ER 539
Circumstances or Essential for Divorce - High court and Supreme court
Judgemetns
Sharda vs. Dharampal
Sharda filed an appeal against the order of the High Court of Rajasthan allowing
Dharmpal's request for medical examination to prove unsoundness of mind.
Facts
Sharda and Dharampal were married according to the Hindu rites. After about four
years of marriage, Dharampal filed a petition for divorce on grounds of unsoundness
of mind of his spouse. He also filed an application seeking permission to get Sharda
medically examined to assess her mental status.
Sharda objected to this on the ground that the court had no authority to pass such
directions. Nonetheless she had to submit herself to the medical examination.
Against the said order, she filed a Revision before the High Court which was also
dismissed. Therefore, she approached the Supreme Court.
Arguments on behalf of Sharda
Two main points were made in support of her appeal - Firstly, compelling a person to
undergo medical examination by an order of the court is in violation of Art.21 of the
Constitution of India (Right to personal liberty) Secondly, in the absence of specific
empowering provisions, a court dealing with matrimonial cases is not authorized to
order a medical examination.
Arguments on behalf of Dharampal
These, two points were countered on behalf of Dharampal by stating that
1. a Family Court was essential to understand whether Sharda was suffering
from 'unsoundness of mind', a mental disorder and it was thus essential that
the Court should be entitled to taking expert opinion.
2. that this medical examination would not infringe on the right to personal
liberty guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
Observations of the Court
The Court noted that for the purpose of grant of divorce on grounds of unsoundness
of mind, it was necessary to establish that the situation was grave enough to warrant
a breaking of the marriage (refer to quotes). The Court further observed that a
disorder of thought, behaviour and mind leading to unsoundness of mind could be a
major cause for filing for divorce.
The Court also noted that it was important take a doctor's opinion about the state of
mind before granting the divorce (refer to quotes). The court explained that a
medical examination by the experts would lead to the truth of the matter and also
help remove misunderstandings between the parties.
In may need to be remembered that in cases of matrimonial disputes, the Court also
plays a conciliatory role for which this information may prove beneficial.
Thus, it would be incorrect to contend that the Court has no power at all. Regarding
the point about "violation of rights of personal liberty", the court explained that its
concern was to investigate whether the person said to be mentally ill was in a
position to defend himself.
The explanation continued to describe the difference between any medical test and a
test carried out by a psychiatrist. In addition, the necessity for treatment would only
be decided after the examination and diagnosis of a properly qualified psychiatrist.
Over and above all this, the court pointed out that it to be satisfied whether the
person required adequate protection by way of legal aid to ensure that there was no
injustice committed especially since the person was unable to understand the
proceedings.
After outlining the law relating to right to privacy in India, the Court observed that it
was relevant in the context to notice that certain laws had been enacted by the
Parliament where 'the accused' could be subjected to certain medical examinations.
In all such cases where divorce was sought on issues like impotency, unsoundness of
mind etc, medical examination was necessary to arrive at a conclusion whether the
allegation made was correct or not.
Thus, to confuse the issue of violation of right to privacy, or right to personal liberty
under Article 21 of the Constitution of India then it would not be possible to arrive at
the required conclusion. Summing up, the Court held that -
1. A Matrimonial Court has the power to order a person to undergo medical test.
2. Passing of such an order would not be violative of Article 21 of the
Constitution.
3. The Court should exercise such a power if the applicant has a strong case and
if there was sufficient material before the Court. If despite the order of the
Court, the respondent refused to submit to this medical examination, and
then the court would be entitled to draw an adverse inference.
Held: The Court opined that High Court cannot be said to have erred in the passing
of the judgment and dismissed the appeal.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 5, 12(i) (b) and 13(1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
 Article 21 of Constitution of India
 Mental Health Act, 1987
Cases Referred:
 Goutam Kundu vs. State of WB, AIR 1993 SC 2295: (1993) AIR SCW 2325:
1993 Cri LJ 3233
 Bipinchandra Shantilal Bhatt v. Madhuriben, AIR 1963 Guj 250
 Smt. Revamma vs. Shri Shanthappa, AIR 1972 Mysore 157
 Shanti Devi vs. Ram Nath, AIR 1972 P & H 270
 M. Venkatachallapati v. Aroja, AIR 1981 Madras 349
 PA Anbu Anandari vs. Sivakumari, AIR 1999 Madras 232
 Smt Ningamma vs. Chikkaiah & another, AIR 2000 Kar 50
 G Venkatanarayan vs. Kurupati Laxmi Devi, AIR 1985 AP 1
 Birendra Kumar Biswas vs. Hemlata Biswas, AIR 1921 Cal 459
 George Swamidoss Joseph vs. Miss Sundari Edward, 1954 67 Mad LW 676
 AS Mohammad Ibrahim Ummal vs. Shaik Mohammad Marakayar & another,
AIR 1949 Mad 292
 Ram Narain Gupta v. Rameshwari, AIR 1988 SC 2260
 MP Sharma vs. Satish Chandra, AIR 1954 SC 297
 Kharak Singh vs. State of UP, AIR 1963 SC 1295
 R Rajagopal vs. State of Tamil Nadu & others, AIR 1995 SC 264
 People's Union of Civil Liberties vs. Union of India, 1997 1 SSC 301
 Govind vs. State of MP &another, AIR 1975 SC 1378
 Mr. 'X' vs. Hospital 'Z', 1998 8 SCC 296
 Mr. 'X' vs. Hospital 'Z', 2003 1 SCC 500
 M. Vijaya vs. Chairman, Singareni Collieries, AIR 2001 Andh Pra 502
 St. Georges Health Care N.H.S Trust vs. S. Regina v. Collins Ex. Parte S. 1998
3 WLR 936
 In re M.B. An Adult Medical Treatment, 1997 2 FCR 541
 Costello Roberts vs. United Kingdom, 1955 19 EHRR 112
 Zurigh vs. Pierce (1983) 714 F 2nd 632
 M. Venkatachallapati vs. N. Saroja, AIR 1981 Madras 349
 State (Delhi Administration) vs. Gulzarilal Tandon, AIR 1979 SC 1382
 S vs. S and W. vs. Official Liquidator, (1972) AC 24: 1970 3 All ER 107
 B.R.B. vs. J.B. (1968) 2 All ER 1023: 1968 3 WLR 566
 W. vs. W. (1963) 2 Al ER 841: (1963) 3 WLR 540
 State of Bombay vs. Kathi Kalu Oghad, AIR 1961 SC 1808
 P Sreeramamurthy vs. Lakshmikanthan, AIR 1955 Andh Pra 207
 Mr. Sharma vs. Satish Chandra, AIR 1954 SC 300
 George Swamidass Joseph vs. Ms. Sundari Edward (1954) 67 Mad LW 676
 Birendra KumarBiswas vs. Hemlata Biswas, AIR 1921 Cal 459
 B. vs. B. (1901) P 39: 70 LJ P 4
 W. vs. S. 1905 P 231: 93 LT 456: 74 LJP 112
 In re Mathew R., 113 Moo App 701: 688 A2d 956
 Laznovsky vs. Laznovsky, 74.5 A 2d 1054
 Armando Schmerbar vs. State of California 384 US 757
 Paul H. Breithaupt vs. Morris Abram 352 US 432
 Charles Joseph Kastigar and Michael Gorean Stewart vs. United States 32 Led
2d 212
 F. vs. P. (1896) 75 LT 192
 Harrison vs. Harrison (1841) 3 Curt 16: 163 BR 638
 Pollard vs. Wybourn (1828) 1 Hag Ecc 725: 162 ER 732
Quotes from the Judgment
1. "It is trite law that for the purpose of grant of a decree of divorce what it is
necessary is that the petitioner must establish that unsoundness of mind of
the respondent is incurable or his/her mental disorder is of such a kind and to
such an extent that he cannot be reasonably be expected to live with his/her
spouse. Medical testimony for arriving at such finding although may to be
imperative but undoubtedly would be of considerable assistance to the Court".
"A party may behave strangely or oddly inappropriate and progressive in
deterioration in the level of work may lead to a conclusion that he or she
suffers from an illness of slow developing over years. A few strong instances
indicting a short temper and somewhat erratic behavior on the part of the
spouse may not amount to his/her suffering continuously or intermittently
from mental disorder".
2. "The Hindu Marriage Act or any other law governing the field does not contain
any express provision empowering the Court to issue a direction upon a party
to matrimonial case to compel him to submit himself to a medical
examination. However, in our opinion, this does not preclude a Court from
passing such an order".
Vinita Saxena vs. Pankaj Pandit
Filed under: Section 13(1)(ia) and (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Vinita Saxena
Respondent: Pankaj Pandit
Citation: 113(2004) DLT 884
Court: In the High Court of Delhi
Judges: C K Mahajan
Vinita Saxena filed a case of divorce on grounds of mental disorder. It was
dismissed. She filed this appeal challenging the judgement.
Facts
Vinita Saxena married Pankaj Pandit as per Hindu rites and ceremonies. The
marriage was not consummated. She claimed that she was subjected to physical as
well as mental cruelty by her husband and his mother. It was alleged that prior to
the marriage, Pankaj was suffering from mental disorder and was a case of Paranoid
Schizophrenia and Psychopathic Disorder.
However, this fact was not disclosed to Vinita before the marriage. Therefore, she
filed a divorce petition on the ground of cruelty and mental disorder. The District
Court dismissed the case while rejecting the plea of cruelty on technical grounds and
on the basis of evidence given by the witnesses that proved that Pankaj was not
suffering from any mental disorder.
Against this order, the present appeal was filed in the High Court. Vinita challenged
the order on the grounds that the District Judge failed to appreciate the medical
record, deposition and medical description of her husband's disorder.
Arguments made on behalf of Vinita:
1. The Trial Court had not appreciated her evidence on several issues that had
proved her case. It was argued that she was treated with cruelty. And the fact
that Pankaj did not object to the allegations of him suffering from a mental
disorder proved her case.
2. The Trial Court failed to appreciate the medical record, which proved that
Pankaj was suffering from a mental illness.
3. The Court failed to appreciate evidence of the fact that she was denied
matrimonial happiness because of her husband's incompetence, which
constituted cruelty.
Pankaj opposed all the allegations made in the appeal and prayed for dismissal of the
appeal.
Observations of the Court
The main issue for consideration before the Court was whether Pankaj was suffering
from a mental disorder to such an extent that it could not be reasonably expected of
Vinita to live with him? In that regard, after carefully examining the evidence of the
witnesses, the Court held that the Trial Court had rightly come to the conclusion that
Vinita had failed to prove the issue and that Pankaj was not suffering from paranoid
schizophrenia.
Vinita's arguments that the Trial Court had failed to appreciate medical records;
deposition and medical description of the disease were held to be without substance.
As to the question whether Vinita was subjected to cruelty, the Court opined that the
conduct charged as cruelty is to be of such a character to cause in Vinita's mind a
reasonable apprehension that it would be harmful or injurious to live with Pankaj.
In this case, there was insufficient material on record and the evidence was
insufficient to establish the cause of cruelty. Thus, the High Court opined that the
Additional District Judge had rightly observed that the incidents of cruelty narrated
by Vinita were not so grave to come within the scope of cruelty and the appeal was
dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 13(1)(ia), (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 King vs. King, (1952) 2 All England Report (AER) 584
 Harton vs. Harton. (1940) 3 AER 380
 McEwan vs. McEwan, 1964 108 Sol. Jo 198 CA
 Gollins vs. Gollins, 1964 AC 644
 Smt Maya vs. Brij Nath, AIR 1982 Delhi 240
 Dastane vs. Dastane, I 1981 DMC 293 SC: AIR 1975 SC 1534
 Shobha Rani vs. Madhukar Reddi, I 1988 DMC 12 SC: AIR 1988 SC 121
 V Bhagat vs. Mrs. D Bhagat, AIR 1994 SC 710
 Sheldon vs. Sheldon, (1966) 2 AER 257, 259
 Ram Narain Gupta vs. Rameshwari Gupta, II (1988) DMC 364 SC: AIR 1988
SC 2260
J. Sudhakar Shenoy vs. Vrinda Shenoy
Filed under: Section 13(1)(ia) and (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act
Appellant: J. Sudhakar Shenoy
Respondent: Mrs. Vrinda Shenoy and Another
Citation: 2001(2) Kar.L. J. 438(DB)
Court: In the High Court of Karnataka
Judges: Harinath Tilhari and T.N. Vallinayagam
This is an appeal against the order of the Principal Civil Judge and the Chief Judicial
Magistrate, Bangalore dismissing the petition of Sudhakar Shenoy for divorce on
grounds of cruelty and mental disorder.
Facts
J Sudhakar Shenoy and Vrinda Shenoy got married 13 years prior to the filing of the
case as per the customs of the Gowda Saraswatha community. They had a son aged
11 years. Sudhakar filed a petition for divorce in the court of the Principal Civil Judge
and the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bangalore, which was disissed.
Sudhakar filed an appeal in the High court of Karnataka that his wife's mental
disorder was suppressed and a fraud was played upon him at the time of marriage.
He elaborated that even on the wedding day, his bride-to-be after garlanding him,
forcibly cut and removed her own bridal garland and threw it away.
Thereafter, Sudhakar learnt that his newly wedded wife had been undergoing
treatment for mental disability. Even prior to the marriage she was admitted to a
hospital and she was treated by a psychiatrist. It was also said that she was
quarrelsome which made the entire family miserable.
Sudhakar informed the court that his wife even tried to commit suicide more than
twice. She used to beat their son and did not treat him with love and affection.
Finally he said that his wife was suffering from Schizophrenia and had strange habits
making it impossible for him to live with her.
He had some more complaints about his wife who he claimed did not even fulfill her
marital obligation and had denied him sexual intercourse for ten years and that he
had been suffering on this account for the last ten years. He placed the blame on the
mental illness and lamented that they could not live together.
Vrinda Shenoy stated that she was of sound mind. She added that as was customary
her health had been investigated before the marriage was solemnized. She further
added that she continued to remain physically fit. She further claimed that the
initiation of divorce proceedings after a fairly long marriage was a result of the
instigation of her sister-in-law (brother-in law's wife). Thus, Vrinda resisted the
dismissal of the divorce petition filed by her husband.
The judge at the trial court stated that the case was being dismissed on the following
grounds:
1. Due to failure of the husband to provide adequate proof of allegations.
2. Due to the acceptance of the fact that quarreling or causing embarrassment
were common factors in family life.
3. Due to the illness, certain marital obligations may not have been fulfilled,
which however did not amount to cruelty.
Arguments made on behalf of Sudhakar Shenoy:
1. Vrinda was suffering from a mental disorder (schizophrenia) and that the
lowest court had erred in holding that the disorder was curable which was
contrary to the records.
2. It was impossible for him to live with her as her disorder was not curable and
his family life was ruined because of her abnormal behaviour.
Arguments made on behalf of Vrinda Shenoy:
1. On the other hand, his wife contended that the attempt to get divorce was
because Sudhakar wished to marry again.
2. The situation was escalated by his brother and brother's wife.
3. There was no proof of schizophrenia.
Observations of the Court
The court pointed that the allegations about Vrinda's mental status and the supposed
fraud at the time of marriage was illogical. It was observed that it was difficult to
believe that Sudhakar waited for 13 years to discover his wife's mental disorder. If
the behavior of the bride was so intolerable then the further conduct of the marriage
should have been a problem. The fact was that the marriage was solemnized and
subsequently a boy was born within two years. The so-called strange habits like
drinking water mixed with turmeric powder, applying castor oil to hair and bathing
twice a day etc, were not due to a mental disorder.
The Court also noted that another allegation was made that the wife attempted to
commit suicide thrice, but there was no explanation or reason offered for the same.
Furthermore, though Sudhakar had denied that he had filed the petition on the
behest of his brother's wife, it appeared to be the root cause of the whole trouble.
The Court after examining the evidence provided by Vrinda regarding the marriage
ceremony observed that such detailed and vivid narration of the marriage ceremony
and her life thereafter revealed a woman of normal intellect, good behavior and
conduct. Further the evidence regarding her admission to the hospital clearly shows
her behavior as that of an ordinary woman unaffected by any disease.
The Court opined that evidence so vividly given by Vrinda only indicated that the
husband's allegation of a mental disorder in his wife is neither believable nor
acceptable and hence the finding rendered by the Trial Court is to be upheld in the
light of the evidence available.
Held
The Court held that there is no merit in the appeal and confirmed the decree given
by the family court. There were no costs.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13(1)(ia) and (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Krishna Bhat vs. Srimathi, (1995) 2 Kar. L J 271: ILR 1995 Kar 1494
 Gnanambal vs. GR Selvaraj, (1970) 2 Mad LJ 429
 Tarlochan Singh vs. Jit Kaur, AIR 1986 P & H 379
 Darbara Singh vs. Sudarshan Kaur, 1981 Hindu LR 157
Quotes from the Judgment:
"If any ordinary lady hears about such false news, certainly she will get mad. When
the petition was dismissed by the Trial Court on 17-9-1994 only, in 1992 informing
the wife that the divorce has been granted and custody of the child was given to the
husband, certainly would upset any ordinary human being and especially a woman.
Probably these are the attempts made by the husband to spoil the wife and make
her mentally upset by giving such false news. This only indicates the husband's
anxiety to somehow get an order of divorce by hook and crook by painting the wife
with dark picture and charging her with such false news. Thus it is seen that it is the
husband who has been inflicting the cruelty on the wife making her unhappy at times
and the plea of mental disorder or schizophrenia are not made out on facts and the
evidence rendered by the court below has to be confirmed and the same is
confirmed".
Joykutty Mathew vs. Valsamma Kuruvilla
Filed under: Sections 19 and 36 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, Sections 13, 13(1) and
24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Joykutty Mathew
Respondent: Valsamma Kuruvilla
Citation: M.F.A.No's 752 and 774 of 1987 Decided on 17.10.1989 (Unreported)
Court: Kerala High Court
Judges: P.C. Balakrishna Menon and D.J. Jagannadha Raju
An appeal filed by Joykutty Mathew against the judgement of the trial court
dismissing his petition for declaring his marriage with Valsamma Kuruvilla as null and
void.
Facts
Joykutty filed a petition under Section 18 of the Indian Divorce Act seeking a
declaration that his marriage with Valsamma be declared null and void. This petition
was filed on the ground that Valsamma was impotent and she was unwilling to have
sexual relations with him. According to him the only occasion on which they
managed to have sex was when he sedated her. He also claimed that she was
suffering from schizophrenia and his consent to the marriage had been obtained by
suppressing this fact.
Valsamma denied all these allegations. She denied having any mental illness and
claimed that they had a normal married life with sexual relations as and when they
felt like it.
The couple had got married on 17.05.1982. Valsamma conceived and delivered a
female child on 17.04.1984. The child died after living for two months and eight
days.
The trial court dismissed Joykutty's petition finding the allegations made by him to
be unsubstantiated. Against this judgement of the trial court, Joykutty filed this
appeal.
Observations made by the Court
The High Court held that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations made
by Joykutty. It held that the fact that Valsamma became pregnant and delivered a
child went to show that she was not impotent. The High Court held that the couple
went on a pleasure trip indicating that they were leading a normal happy married
life.
The High Court observed that although there was some evidence to show that
Valsamma had consulted Psychiatrists and Psychologists on certain occasions, there
was no evidence to show that she was suffering from any serious mental disorder.
There was ample evidence to show that she was a normal woman with good
academic record. The High Court observed that Joykutty had invented the theory of
lunacy only to secure a decree of nullity of marriage.
The High Court also rejected Joykutty's contention that his consent to the marriage
had been obtained by fraud as this ground had not been taken by him before the
trial court and had been alleged for the first time in his appeal before the High Court.
On the question of alimony the High Court awarded alimony of Rs 500 per month
keeping in mind Joykutty's income (about Rs 4000 per month) and Valsamma's
salary as a teacher (Rs 879 per month) and also an amount of Rs 5,000 towards
court expenses.
Held
The petition was dismissed for above reasons.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 19 and 36 of the Indian Divorce Act 1869
 Sections 13(1) and 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955
Cases Referred:
 Abraham Jacob vs. Usha K Mamman, 1984 Ker LJ 593, AIR 1985 NOC 217
 Usha Abraham vs. Abraham Jacob, (1987) 2 Ker LT 582, AIR 1968 Kerala 96
 Tarlochan Singh vs. Jit Kaur, AIR 1986 Punj and Har 379
Ram Narain vs. Smt Rameshwari, AIR 1988 SC 2260
circumstances are essential for divorce - High Cout & Supreme court Judgments
All Charges to be substantiated
 BN Panduranga Shet vs. SN Vijaylaxmi
 Nirmala Manohar Jagesha vs. Manohar Shivram Jagesha
 Sudhir Singhal vs. Neeta Singhal
 Sharda vs. Dharampal
 Vinita Saxena vs Pankaj Pandit
 J. Sudhakar Shenoy vs. Vrinda Shenoy
 Joykutty Mathew vs. Valsamma Kuruvilla
 Alka Sharma vs. Abhinesh Chandra Sharma
 George Joseph vs. Alphonsa alias Lovely Mathew and another
 Ram Narain Gupta vs. Smt. Rameshwari Gupta
 Mukesh Mathur vs. Smt. Veena Mathur
 Mamata Mishra vs. Subhas Chandra Mishra
 VC Thomas vs. An Thomas alias Kunjumol
 Devi Sharma vs. Chander Mohan Sharma
 Prithvi Pal Singh vs. Joginder Kaur
 Smritikana Bag vs. Dilip Kumar Bag
 Radhamony Amma vs. Gopinathan Pillai
 Manisha vs. Pramod
 Joginder Kaur vs. Surjit Singh
 Rekha vs. Ravinder Kumar
 Ajit Paul vs. Bessy Baby
BN Panduranga Shet vs. SN Vijaylaxmi
Filed under: Section 13(1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: BN Panduranga Shet
Respondent: SN Vijayalaxmi
Citation: 2003(3) Kar.L.J (DB)
Court: In the High Court of Karnataka
Judges: AM Farroq and DV Shylendra Kumar
This is an appeal against the order of the Additional Civil Judge at Mysore dismissing
the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Facts
BN Panduranga Shet and Vijayalakshmi were married in 1991 according to Hindu
customs and rituals. In the petition, Panduranga stated that after 15 days of
marriage, Vijayalakshmi's behaviour turned abnormal and violent. He also said that
she was not interested in her matrimonial duties and ill-treated him and his family
members.
The petition also started that Vijayalakshmi conceived after four months of marriage
and in due course of time a daughter was born with 'mental abnormalities'.
Panduranga reported that her behaviour was abnormal during the course of the
pregnancy and also after the birth of the child.
Thereafter, Vijayalakshmi conceived for the second time and went to her parents'
home for the delivery. Meanwhile, the first daughter died.
After the second child was born Vijayalakshmi returned to her husband in Mysore.
Further, on her request, Panduranga shifted to a separate house where her
behaviour, as described turned from bad to worse.
At about this time, Panduranga consulted a psychiatrist in Mysore who opined that
Vijayalakshmi was suffering from schizophrenia that would require lifelong
treatment.
When questioned, Vijayalakmi denied that she had or was suffering from any mental
disorder or that she had ill-treated her husband or the members of his family.
She claimed that they shared a normal marital life evident from her conception and
pregnancy history. She also denied the allegation that the first daughter had died as
a result of her (Vijayalakshmi's) mental disorder.
She stated that there was nothing wrong with her behaviour that their families were
closely related to each other, and that Panduranga knew her before their marriage.
She claimed that her husband's family was prejudiced against her for not having
borne a male child and that she was forcibly taken to a nursing during her third
pregnancy for termination - an incident that caused great mental shock and anguish.
Thereafter, Panduranga took her to her parents' home and left her there and got a
legal notice issued seeking her consent for a divorce.
After examining the evidence of husband and other witnesses, the Trial Court
proclaimed that Panduranga had failed to prove that his wife had treated him with
cruelty or to establish that she was suffering from a mental disorder. The petition
was thus dismissed. Panduranga then went on to appeal to the High Court.
Observations of the Court
The Court informed of the necessity to establish that the mental disorder was of such
an extent as to make it impossible to live together, in order to avail of the benefit of
this section of the act.
The court observed in this connection that though Panduranga had stated that his
wife was behaving abnormally after 15 days of marriage, he had taken her to the
doctor only after 4 years.
The Court held that under the circumstances it was difficult to believe that the
'abnormal behavior' was of such intensity as to make it impossible for them to live
together.
Held: For the above reason, the petition was dismissed
Sections Referred:
 Section 13(1) (iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Ram Narain Gupta v. Smt. Rameshwari Gupta, AIR 1988 SC 2260 : (1988)4
SCC 247 : All. L.J. 483
Nirmala Manohar Jagesha vs. Manohar Shivram Jagesha
Filed Under: Hindu Marriage Act Sections 13(1) (ia) and (1) (iii)
Appellant: Smt. Nirmala Manohar Jagesha
Respondent: Manohar Shivram Jagesha
Citation: AIR 1991 BOMBAY 259
Court: In the High Court of Bombay
Judge: AV Savant
Facts
Nirmala and Manohar Shivram Jagesha had been married at Nasik in accordance with
the Hindu marriage rites. Manohar was a lawyer practicing at Nasik while Nirmala
was an Arts Graduate from Delhi. After the wedding Nirmala had stayed with
Manohar for only 40 days, after which Nirmala left her matrimonial home and went
to live with Dr. Badlani who was a common friend.
After staying with him for 5 days she left for Delhi. About two months later, Nirmala
went back to Nasik with her father-in-law. During this time she stayed with her
husband and his family only for a period of 10 days after which she left for Delhi.
During her stay this time, her mother-in-law wrote a letter to Nirmala's brother
Baldev, complaining that Nirmala could not perform any household work. Three
months later, Nirmala's father-in-law wrote another letter to Baldev, in which he
mentioned Nirmala's indifferent and defiant mood and also the threats that she had
given to her mother in-law.
Despite these complaints, Nirmala's father-in-law expressed hope that Nirmala would
come back to Nasik. A few months later, her father-in-law wrote another letter to
Nirmala's father complaining about Nirmala's peculiar behavior. He referred to this as
indicating that she was mentally unbalanced.
The letter also stated some specific instances, such as getting up late at night and
brushing her teeth, opening doors, sitting on the floor of the bedroom. He further
added that neighbors or visitors had witnessed this behavior.
At the end of this letter Nirmala's father-in-law contended that if Nirmala was not
sent back to Nasik within a period of 7 days, legal proceedings against her would be
initiated.
Therafter, Manohar wrote a letter directly to Nirmala requesting her to come back.
He also referred to the abuses Nirmala's mother had hurled at him and his mother.
He claimed that it was for this reason he would rather not come to Delhi to get her
back.
Manohar also sent a telegram to Nirmala stating that he was seriously ill and wanted
her to come to Nasik immediately. In response to this telegram, Nirmala went to
Nasik but after staying with Manohar for about 10 to 15 minutes she went to stay
with Dr. Badlani and then on the same day she returned to Delhi.
On the basis of the above facts, Manohar filed a petition for divorce on grounds of
cruelty, desertion and mental disorder. In the petition, Manohar also stated that
Nirmala was sexually cold and unresponsive. He also claimed that Nirmala's mother
had abused his mother and had also insisted that he and Nirmala should live
separately from his parents.
The subsequent proceedings under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code by the
Delhi Court granted maintenance of Rs. 500/- per month to Nirmala. In reply to the
charges made by Manohar, Nirmala filed a written reply in which she denied the
allegations of erratic behavior and mental deficiency.
She further contended that she was being harassed for the demand of dowry of Rs.
5000/-. She also denied that she did not know cooking and that she was of
subnormal intelligence.
Further, she also denied allegations of her being sexually unresponsive and claimed
that it was Manohar who was unable to consummate the marriage. She also denied
the alleged disputes and quarrels.
Observations of the Court
The Court proceeded to analyze the relevant points in order to come to his
judgment. He specifically dealt with the following issues:
1. Had Nirmala in fact treated Manohar cruelly?
2. Could it be proved that Nirmala was suffering continuously or intermittently
from mental disorder of such a kind that Manohar could not reasonably be
expected to live with her?
3. Finally, could Manohar be granted decree for divorce on grounds of cruelty of
the allegations made by Nirmala about his impotency?
With regards to the first point, the Court referred to several previous and relevant
cases and opined that on the basis of the evidence provided by Manohar it could not
be concluded that Nirmala had treated him cruelly.
For the second point, the Court reviewed relevant sections and previous cases and
concluded that Manohar's contention of Nirmala suffering continuously or
intermittently could not be accepted.
Finally, for the last and the final point, the Court again made references to many
relevant previous cases and opined that Nirmala had made wild, reckless and
baseless allegations in the written statement against Manohar.
According to the Court, Nirmala had not attempted to either put her husband or
herself under cross-examination. She had not tried to support the allegations she
had made in written about her husband's impotence.
On the basis of this point the Court granted decree for divorce to Manohar on
grounds of cruelty. The appeal was therefore partly allowed.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 13(1) (ia) and 13(1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Ram Narain vs. Rameshwari: AIR 1988 SC 2260
 Gangadharan vs. T. K. Thankan: AIR 1988 Keraia 244
 AIR 1987 Delhi 52
 Ashok Sharma vs. Smt. Santosh Sharma: AIR 1987 Delhi 63
 Smt. Shanti Devi vs. Raghav Prakash: AIR 1986 Rajasthan 13
 Smt. Krishna Sarbadhikary vs. Alok Ranjan Sarbhadhikary: AIR 1985 Calcutta
431
 Kamini Gupta vs. Mukesh Kumar Gupta: AIR 1985 Delhi 221
 Dr. Keshaorao Krishnaji Londhe vs. Mrs. Nisha Londhe: AIR 1984 Bombay
413
 Smt. Savitri Balchandani vs. Mulchand Balchandani: AIR 1982 Allahabad 52
 Kiran Kapur vs. Surinder Kumar, 1982 Rajdhani LR (Note) 37 at P. 36
 Lajwanti Chandhok vs. O. N. Chandhok: AIR 1982 NOC 111
 Shakuntala Kumari vs. Om Prakash: AIR 1981 Delhi 53
 Smt. Sumanbai vs. Anandrao: AIR 1976 Bombay 212
 Dr. N G Dastane vs. Mrs. S. Dastane: AIR 1975 SC 1534
 Trimbak Narayan Bhagwat vs. Smt. Kumudini Trimbak Bhagwat: AIR 1967
Bombay 80
 Iqbal Kaur vs. Pritam Singh: AIR 1963 Punjab 242
 Villiams vs. Villiams (1963) 2 All ER 994: (1963) 3 WLR 215
 Gollins vs. Gollins (1963) 2 All ER 966: 1964 AC 644: (1963) WLR 176
 Kaslefsky vs. Kaslefsky (1950) 2 All ER 398: 66 TLR (Pt 2) 616
 Russell vs. Russell 1897 AC 395: 77 LT 249: 13 TLR 516
 Sharda Nand Sharma v. Kiran Sharma, (1985) 28 Delhi LT (SN) 32
 Girdhari Lal vs. Santosh Kumari, (1982) 1 DMC 180
 Jorden Dienadoh vs. S. S. Chopra, (1982) 1 DMC 224: AIR 1983 NOC 313
 Sadan Singh vs. Resham, AIR 1982 Allahabad 52
Sudhir Singhal vs. Neeta Singhal
Sudhir Singhal filed a petition seeking dissolution of his marriage on grounds of
cruelty and mental disorder.
Facts
Sudhir and Neeta Singhal were married at Delhi according to Hindu rites and
ceremonies. They were both divorcees at the time of the marriage. However, neither
had a child either from the present marriage or from their previous marriages.
After the marriage, the couple lived in Chandausi. After about 6 years, Sudhir filed a
petition for divorce in the Court of Civil Judge, Moradabad, UP. He claimed that Neeta
was abusive, used filthy language and was insulting. The case was then transferred
to the Court at Delhi.
Neeta filed a written statement in which she contended that she had never behaved
in the manner stated by her husband. She further took the defense claiming that
Sudhir was an alcoholic and because of this habit she had not been able to conceive.
She further added that Sudhir had treated her in a very cruel manner right from the
first night. In the Sessions Court two main issues were taken up:
1. Whether Neeta had been of an unsound mind of such a kind that Sudhir could
not reasonably expected to live with her?
2. Was Neeta guilty of treating Sudhir with mental cruelty as claimed by him?
At the Sessions Court, both the parties presented oral and documentary evidence. It
was claimed by Sudhir that Neeta had hurled filthy abuses on him and his mother. It
was further contended that Neeta had decided to leave her matrimonial home with
the intention of never coming back.
In reference to this it was pointed out that she had collected all articles including
jewelry, bedding, clothes etc. A list was also submitted of these items. Apart from
this, Sudhir's lawyer also submitted a certificate that had been issued to Neeta by a
psychiatrist. It had been claimed in the certificate that Neeta had been suffering from
Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis and was therefore mentally unsound.
In response to these allegations, Neeta contended that during the first 6 years of
marriage, there had been no allegations against her for using foul language against
Sudhir and his mother. Also during this period it had never been stated that Neeta
was suffering from a mental disorder.
It was further pointed out that the list of the articles taken had in fact been thrust on
Neeta. The lawyer also claimed that Sudhir's weakness for alcohol was at the root of
all the problems. After analyzing the relevant evidence, the Sessions Judge
dismissed the petition. Sudhir was not satisfied with the judgment and filed the
present appeal.
Observations of the Court
The Court made reference to relevant previous cases and Section 13(1)(ia) of the
Hindu Marriage Act. After this, the Court proceeded to analyze the evidence on the
question of mental disorder and on the question of cruelty.
The Court observed that Sudhir, in his petition had extended the evidence given by
the doctor who had examined Neeta. The doctor stated that Sudhir had brought
Neeta to him for treatment. The date mentioned by the doctor was later modified by
him.
On diagnosing her, he had found her to be suffering from Obsessive Compulsive
Neurosis. He also maintained that Neeta had been suffering from this disorder
previously as well and he had seen the prescriptions of the previous doctors.
He also stated that his treatment had not shown much improvement in Neeta's
condition. The doctor had also submitted a photostat copy of the prescription slip.
However, when the doctor was cross-examined he said that he did not maintain any
records of his patients except that of entries in his appointment diary.
After taking into account this aspect of evidence, the Court pointed out that nothing
was stated or proved by the doctor that indicated the nature and length of the
treatment that the doctor had prescribed for Neeta. Even though the doctor had
stated that he had seen the prescriptions given by previous doctors, no such
prescription had been placed on record.
Furthermore, the Court also examined the certificate that had been issued by the
doctor. The Court observed that the Doctor had claimed that he did not maintain any
records of his patients.
And yet, after two years he remembered Neeta's case and had issued a certificate.
Not a single prescription had been put on the record and nor had the doctor stated
the line of treatment prescribed by him.
On the basis of these aspects, the Court stated that evidence presented to the Court
was not sufficient to support the case that Neeta Singhal had indeed been suffering
from a mental disorder of such a degree that Sudhir could not live with her.
After examining the relevant evidence, the Court also stated that Sudhir had not
been able to establish the claims of mental cruelty against Neeta. Thus, the Court
also rejected the plea of mental cruelty made by Sudhir. Accordingly the Court held
that Sudhir Singhal had failed to make a ground for dissolution of his marriage.
Therefore, the appeal was dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13(1) (ia) of Hindu Marriage Act (25 of 1995)
Cases Referred:
 Gauri Shankar Chakravarty vs. Smt. Basana Roy, AIR 1999 Gauhati 48
 Anil Kumar vs. Sunita, (1998) 1 DMC 345: (1997) 3 Guj LR 2264
 Rajana Saxena vs. Prabhash Saxena, (1997), 68 DLT 397: (1997) 2 DMC 317
 Usha Gupta vs. Santosh Kumar Pahadiya, (1996) 1 DMC 90: 1996 MPLJ 42
 Ram Prakash vs. Smt. Vijay Kumar, (1995) 2 DMC 71: (1995) 2 Shim LC 38
(Him Pra)
 V. Bhagat vs. (Mrs.) D. Bhagat, AIR 1994 SC 710: (1994) 1 SCC 337: 1994
AIR SCW 45
 Smt. Nitu vs. Kishan Lal, AIR 1990 Delhi 1
 Ram Narain Gupta vs. Smt. Rameshwari Gupta, AIR 1989 SC 2260
 Sh. Ashok Sharma vs. Smt. Santosh Sharma, AIR 1987 Delhi 63
 Smt. Kamini Gupta vs. Mukesh Kumar Gupta, AIR 1985 Delhi 221
 A.E.G. Carapiet vs. A.Y. Derderian, AIR 1961 Cal 359
Difference between Mental Illness and Insanity to be Noted - High Cout of New
Delhi
Mohinder Kaur vs. S.S. Sabharwal
Filed under: Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Rule 17 of Code of
Civil Procedure
Appellant: Mohinder Kaur
Respondent: S.S. Sabharwal
Citation: F.A.O. No. 71 of 1979 Decided on 12.11.79
Court: In the High Court of Delhi
Judge: Yogeshwar Dayal
Facts
Mohinder Kaur and S.S. Sabharwal were married with two male children. Both the
sons however died. S.S. Sabharwal then filed this petition for divorce on the ground
that his wife was suffering from mental illness, which included schizophrenia, and
also on the ground that she had deserted him.
In order to support his case, S.S. Sabharwal stated that his wife had been suffering
from incurable insanity from the very start of their marriage. According to him, he
had continued to provide her treatment with the hope that she might be cured. He
also submitted the tickets of various hospitals, which they had visited for her
treatment. It was also alleged that Mohinder could not be left alone in the house
because she used to throw away the goods, cash, and jewelry from the house.
He also went on to state that Mohinder‟s mental state was so bad that one could
even suspect death at her hands. According to him, she might kill while sleeping or
administer poison without understanding the merits or demerits of her actions. It
was also stated that she was quite capable of leaving the house during a fit of
insanity.
However, Mohinder Kaur in response denied all of the above allegations. She stated
that it was her husband who was guilty of extending extreme physical and mental
cruelty towards her. She further alleged that her husband had started neglecting her
immediately after the first year of marriage and that he constantly placed
burdensome demands on her threatening that if she did not fulfill those demands she
would be forced to leave the house. She also stated that she was kept on insufficient
diet even during her pregnancy.
Furthermore, Mohinder claimed that their first child had died within 24 hours of birth
and her husband or his mother had not even bothered to visit her in the hospital or
enquire about her health. She also contended that when their second son, who was 4
years old, had fallen ill, her husband had refused to pay for his medicines and diet.
The son had then suffered from paralysis and during this time, she had taken care of
him all by herself. He had died at the age of 8. With respect to the fact that she was
of an unsound mind, Mohinder Kaur denied all the allegations and stated that she
was matriculate and had also worked on a part-time basis before her marriage.
At the Trial Court, the husband had presented evidence of psychiatrists who had
treated his wife. One doctor from AIIMS claimed that he had examined Mohinder
Kaur and had diagnosed her as suffering from schizophrenia. In the crossexamination
however, he had stated that he had only seen her twice but had made
the diagnosis of schizophrenia on the basis of the symptoms. He had also brought
the records wherein these symptoms were listed. In order to support the claims
made by him, S.S. Sabharwal had also presented the evidence of neighbors and
other doctors.
On the other hand, Mohinder Kaur‟s lawyer examined the evidence given by another
doctor of AIIMS who stated that he had treated her some time back but he did not
clearly remember her condition. He did not have any records with him. The wife‟s
brother also stated that his sister was perfectly all right. During cross-examination,
Mohinder admitted that her husband had never given her beatings, but she denied
the fact that she had been treated at the Willington hospital by a private doctor as
claimed by her husband.
At the Trial Court, the Judge considered two main issues; whether Mohinder Kaur
was insane? Whether she had left the house of her husband, and if so, to what
effect? After examining the arguments put forth by both the parties, the Trial Court
rejected the plea of desertion but found that Mohinder Kaur was suffering from a
mental illness, which was of an incurable nature and therefore granted the decree of
divorce to S.S. Sabharwal.
Mohinder Kaur then filed the present appeal against the order of the Trial Court.
Arguments made on behalf of Mohinder Kaur
The lawyer on behalf of Mohinder Kaur contended that in the plea submitted by S.S.
Sabharwal, it had been stated that his wife was suffering from incurable insanity,
whereas the evidence provided by him showed that she was suffering from
schizophrenia. The lawyer also argued that the issue considered by the Trial Court
was that whether Mohinder was insane but the finding had been that she was
suffering from a mental illness. Therefore, the lawyer contended that the finding was
contrary to the plea taken by S.S. Sabharwal.
Observations of the Court
The Court stated that Section 13 (1) (iii) had been amended in the year 1976, but
S.S. Sabharwal had filed the case prior to this amendment. The Court then quoted
Section 13 (1) (iii) of the Act before it had been amended and explained that prior to
its amendment, this section had not made any distinction between the mental illness
and insanity. According to the Court, the Trial Judge had given the judgment
according to the amendment whereas; S.S. Sabharwal had framed the petition
according to the Act prior to its .amendment
In this situation, S.S. Sabharwal filed an appeal seeking permission for amendment
of the petition. The Court allowed the application for amendment and permitted S.S.
Sabharwal to file the amended petition. The appeal was allowed to the extent that
the judgment and decree of the Trial Court was set aside and the case was
remanded to the Trial Court for trial on the basis of the amended petition. The case
was accordingly remanded.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Degree of Mental Illness - High court and supreme court judgements
Degree of Mental Illness
Usha Gupta vs. Santosh Kumar Pahadiya
Filed Under: Section 13(1) (iii) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Usha Gupta
Respondent: Santosh Kumar Pahadiya
Citation: I (1996) DMC 90
Court: In the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
Judges: T.S. Doabia
This is an appeal by Usha Gupta against the decree for divorce passed by the District
Judge of Gwalior. Her husband Santosh had filed a petition for divorce on the
grounds that Usha had been suffering from a mental disorder from the first day of
marriage.
Facts
Usha Gupta and Santosh Kumar got married according to Hindu customs and
traditions. Usha had passed the B.A. Part I examination at the time of marriage.They
lived together for about five years and during this time they had two children - a son
and a daughter.Santosh filed a petition for divorce on the grounds that Usha was
suffering from mental disorder from the first day of marriage. The District Judge,
Gwalior, passed a Decree for divorce. Against this decree Usha filed this appeal.
In his petition, Santosh had stated that Usha had been suffering from a mental
disorder, which was not curable. He further stated that Usha's behavior had not been
normal from the first day of marriage.
It was alleged that once Usha would start speaking she would go on speaking and
during this period she would also start shrieking, dancing and singing songs. In the
petition it was also stated that she had stayed with her husband for some time and
then she went back to her parent's house.
On account of her abnormal behavior she was taken for treatment to Gwalior and
was treated at Dr. Kale's clinic. It was contended that this treatment led to no
improvement in her condition. Another doctor also treated her and again there was
no improvement.
Electric shocks were also administered to her but instead of improving, her condition
deteriorated after the shocks. It was also elaborated in the petition that Usha would
not stay in the house and would run towards the road. She would break her bangles
and even remove her 'sindoor'.
In the application it was also suggested that there was some improvement in her
condition on account of the treatment and she was taken to her parents' house. She
came back to live with her husband but there was no improvement in her condition.
She would either keep quiet for hours or would go on speaking even to herself.
According to her husband, she would call him either 'Kalua' or 'Joker'. Santosh
reported many such incidents in his application. It was alleged that she had tried to
jump off the roof and once had even attempted to throw her son out of a window.
Based on all this an apprehension was expressed that there was every possibility
that she would either cause injury to herself or to her children. Accordingly it was
pleaded that in the given circumstances, he was entitled to a divorce on grounds of
mental disorder.
Usha denied all the allegations made against her by her husband. In her petition she
stated that they had lived together in a cordial manner. The fact that two children
had been born out of the wedlock was highlighted.
She also contended that she had not been remiss in performing her matrimonial
duties. According to her when she had gone to her husband's house for the first
time, a very unusual incident had taken place.
Some gold ornaments that belonged to some women of her husband's family had
been lost. As a result of this a search had been conducted and Usha's luggage had
also been searched. She was also accused by some members of her husband's family
of stealing the ornaments. It was also suggested that she had brought bad luck to
the family.
This incident had upset her and she had suffered from shock. But soon after this she
had recovered and had started performing her matrimonial duties. She also
highlighted the fact that she had passed her B.A. final exams after her marriage.
Furthermore, it was contended by her that she had been looking after her children
and they were being given proper education.
She also stated that there had been some improvement in her husband's financial
condition and because of this he wanted to get married a second time. She further
stated that the petition of divorce that had been accorded by the lower Court was ill
founded and the Court had not appreciated the factual position.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined several relevant cases and the evidence of the parties and
witnesses. One of the doctors who had examined Usha claimed that she had been
suffering from 'Acute Manic Psychosis' at that time. However, she also stated that
she could not make claims about her condition when the case was being heard.
Another doctor, who claimed to have treated Usha stated that her relatives had
informed her that she used to speak a lot and believed that she possessed a natural
power bestowed on her by Lord Hanumana.
The doctor however further added that she wasn't sure if it was Usha who she had
examined. Other doctors were also examined and one of them was not able to
identify Usha. After observing and analyzing the evidence and relevant sections, the
Court stated that:
 There had been two children from the marriage, and Usha was looking after
them to the best of her ability. It was further opined by the Court that the
allegations made against her during the first day of her marriage could have
possibly upset her. Further it was also opined that she might have been a
feeble-minded person but that did not mean she was suffering from a mental
disorder and was incapable of knowing the nature and consequences of her
actions.
 The Court also held that an inability to handle one's own affairs was an
essential attribute of an incurably unsound person but that could not be said
for her. In order to support this claim the Court referred to her school reports
and her examination results. Furthermore, the Court held that the contention
made by Santosh that it wasn't safe for him or his children to live with Usha
was clearly not borne out by facts.
 Finally, the Court concluded that Santosh had failed to establish the fact that
his wife was suffering from a disease, which was incurable.
The appeal was accordingly allowed and the judgment given by the lower Court was
reversed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii), of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 (1959) 3 All ER 389
 (1969-1) All ER 539
 AIR 1934 All 273
Krishna Bhat vs. Srimathi
Filed Under: Section 13 (i) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Krishna Bhat
Respondent: Srimathi
Citation: 1995 AIHC 4330
Court: In the High Court of Karnataka
Judges: P Krishna Moorthy and VP Mohan Kumar
This is an appeal filed by Krishna Bhat against the judgment of the Trial Court
dismissing his petition for divorce from his wife on the ground that she was of
unsound mind.
Facts
Krishna Bhat and Srimathi got married in the year 1980. According to Krishna, he did
not know Srimathi prior to their marriage; a common relative had fixed their
marriage. According to him, he had seen Srimathi for the first time a few days before
the marriage and he had consented to the marriage believing that Srimathi was a
„normal‟ person. He further alleged that after marriage, they lived together for about
2-3 days in his house and during that period Srimathi‟s behavior was unusually calm
and showed disclination towards cohabitation.
He believed that this was because of changed atmosphere. Thereafter they went to
visit their relatives and came back. According to Krishna, about a month after the
wedding she suddenly began to display peculiar and aggressive behavior and began
talking incoherently. On one or two occasions she even attempted to run away from
the house and had to be brought back forcefully. He further alleged that she used to
abuse his family members without any reason and had no inclination towards
cohabitation.
Krishna sent for Srimathi‟s brother and intended to get appropriate treatment for her
with the hope that her mental condition and attitude would improve. He then took
her to Manipal and she was examined by a lady doctor. According to the doctor,
Srimathi was mentally unsound and she could be kept under control only by
continuous administration of drugs.
The doctor also stated that Srimathi could not be completely cured. At this stage,
Srimathi‟s brother, Ramachandra offered to take her to his house and assured
Krishna that she would be completely cured and sent back after treatment. However,
there was no response from them for some time and since he was anxious to know
about the condition of his wife, Krishna went to her house twice but found that her
condition had not improved at all.
Krishna stated that it was not possible for him to stay with Srimathi and on those
grounds filed this petition for divorce.
Srimathi denied all these allegations and offered to go and live with Krishna. She
expressed her willingness to carry out her marital obligations and denied the
allegation that she had any aversion to cohabitation. According to her she had got
herself examined from the doctor to establish that she did not suffer from any illness
as alleged by her husband. She also claimed that she was capable of consummating
her marriage.
After examining the evidence the Trial Court held that Krishna had not made out a
case that his wife was incurably of unsound mind. The Trial Court further held that
Krishna had totally failed to establish that his wife was suffering from any of the
ailments alleged by him. On these grounds the petition for divorce was dismissed.
Krishna then filed this appeal.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the arguments extended by both the parties and held that
Krishna would have to establish that Srimathi was of incurably unsound mind or he
would have to establish that she suffered continuously or intermittently from mental
disorder of such a kind that he could not be reasonably expected to live with her.
The Court then took into consideration the testimony given by a doctor who had
examined Srimathi. The outpatient record of the hospital in Manipal stated that
Srimathi was suffering from acute schizophrenia and the doctor had prescribed
certain drugs for her. The Court then referred to the literature available on
schizophrenia.
Based on these reasons the Court held that Krishna had established that Srimathi on
the date of marriage had been suffering from a mental disorder of such kind and to
such an extent that he could not reasonably be expected to live with her. The appeal
was accordingly allowed and the Court held that their marriage would stand
dissolved by a decree of divorce.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (i) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Ram Narain Gupta vs. Smt. Rameshwari Gupta, AIR 1988 SC 2260
Smt Pravati Mishra and Another vs. Jagadnanda Mishra and Another
Filed Under: Section 13 (i) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Smt. Pravati Mishra and another
Respondent: Jagadnanda Mishra and another
Citation: 1995 AIHC 3434
Court: In the High Court of Orissa
Judge: A Pasayat
Facts
Jagadnanda married Pravati according to Hindu rites. According to him, after their
marriage, he discovered that Pravati was suffering from a mental disorder of such a
kind and to such an extent that he could not reasonably be expected to live with her.
According to him, her mind had not developed completely, she was suffering from a
psychopathic disorder, and that she had an intelligence of a three-year-old child.
Jagadnanda further alleged that Pravati‟s father deliberately suppressed her mental
condition from him. After marriage when Pravati came to his house, she behaved like
a child and called him „bhayia‟. He further contended that she had no sexual urges
and sometimes went around the house stark naked. Because of such abnormal
behavior, the marriage between them was not consummated. After two months of
marriage, he filed a petition for dissolution marriage. Pravati was also charged of
being guilty of cruelty towards him.
Pravati and her father then filed a joint application and denied all the allegations
made by Jagadnanda. It was submitted that Pravati did not suffer from any mental
disorder but she had subnormal intelligence to a minor degree because of the fact
that she had no schooling as she had suffered from a viral infection when she was
young.
It was further stated that she was capable of having a sexual relation with her
husband and had in fact had it with him on many occasions. It was alleged that
Jagadnanda wanted to extract dowry to the extent of Rs. 1 lakh and that was the
reason why this petition had been filed. A prayer was also made for the return of
certain articles and for maintenance of Rs. 500 per month to Pravati since she had
no source of income.
The Lower Court Judge evaluated the evidence in the case and held that the
marriage of Jagadnanda and Pravati had not been consummated due to Pravati‟s
mental disorder and therefore Jagadnanda was entitled to a decree for dissolution of
marriage. It was further held that Jagadnanda was liable to pay Rs. 1200/- per
quarter to Pravati as maintenance.
Pravati then filed this appeal challenging the decree of dissolution of marriage passed
by the Subordinate Judge. Jagadnanda also questioned the correctness of the
quantum of maintenance as awarded on the ground that since he was unemployed
the quantum fixed by the Judge was irrational.
Observations of the Court
The Court referred to the various provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act and examined
the arguments extended by both the parties. According to the Court in the objections
filed by Pravati, it was specifically mentioned that her intelligence was subnormal.
The Subordinate Judge had also referred to the evidence of various psychiatrists who
had examined her.
According to them, her IQ was below 50% after the age of 21 years and her mental
disorder was incurable. She was also examined in the Court and she was unable to
answer the question that by what number was 125 bigger than 115. According to the
Court, the Subordinate Judge had rightly concluded that Jagadnanda was entitled to
a decree of divorce.
The Court then took up the other aspect of the appeal, which dealt with the quantum
fixed for maintenance, which was to be paid by Jagadnanda to Pravati. According to
the Court, every able-bodied husband was obligated to maintain his wife. However,
no arithmetic rule could be adopted in fixing the amount of maintenance. The Court
held that it could find no scope for interference in the appeal filed by Jagadnanda.
Both the appeals were accordingly dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (i) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 Whyshall vs. Whyshall, (1959) 3 All E.R. 139
Smt. Rita Roy vs. Sitesh Chandra Bhadra Roy
Filed Under: Section 13 (1) (iii), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Smt. Rita Roy
Respondent: Sitesh Chandra Bhadra Roy
Citation: AIR 1982 Calcutta 138
Court: In the High Court of Calcutta
Judges: Banerjee and B.N. Maitra
Facts
Sitesh Chandra married Rita Roy according to Hindu rites. The marriage was
consummated and after a year a daughter was born. Sitesh then filed a petition for
divorce on the grounds that Rita was mentally abnormal to such an extent that he
could not be expected to live with her.
According to Sitesh, after marriage, Rita started displaying signs of abnormal
behavior. She also attempted to commit suicide. Sitesh further contended that after
observing her abnormal behavior he took her to the Mental Hospital for treatment.
Thereafter she was also admitted in the hospital for some time.
In order to support these contentions, several witnesses were also examined. One
witness was a doctor who had allegedly examined Rita. He testified that Rita suffered
from Schizophrenia. Yet, in his prescriptions, there was no mention of the same.
Rita then filed a written statement in which she denied all of the above allegations.
According to her, she had passed her higher secondary examination before the
wedding. But after her marriage her husband and his family had treated her with
cruelty because she gave birth to a daughter.
She also alleged that she had been forced to abort a child and this had affected her
health quite adversely. She had thus gone to the Mental Hospital for treatment after
which she had been declared fit
The District Judge had examined the case and had opined that Rita was suffering
from a mental disorder that included Schizophrenia of such a kind that Sitesh could
not reasonably be expected to live with her. Accordingly the District Judge had
passed the decree of divorce. Rita Roy then filed the present appeal against the said
order.
Observations of the Court
The Court examined the evidence extended by both the parties. The Court also
considered the fact that Sitesh or his mother had never made a mention of the fact
that Rita‟s behavior was of dangerous nature or that she became aggressive or
abusive. The lawyer on behalf of Rita had also pointed out that Sitesh had made a
plea for divorce on the grounds that Rita was suffering from Schizophrenia but the
evidence that he had put forth showed that she was suffering from mental
aberration, not Schizophrenia.
The Court took account of this and opined that on the basis of the evidence given, it
could not be concluded that Rita had been suffering intermittently from a disorder of
such an extent that Sitesh could not be expected to live with her. And therefore
there was no sufficient ground to grant the decree of divorce. The Court then made
references to several previous cases that had been mentioned by Rita‟s lawyer to
support his case.
On the basis of the aforementioned arguments, the Court held that Rita had only
been suffering intermittently from a slight mental disorder. Accordingly, the Court
held that Sitesh should have been more tolerant of his wife‟s condition instead of
filing a suit for divorce seven years after marriage. The Court concluded that the
decisions arrived at by the Additional District Judge were erroneous and the appeal
was thus allowed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13 (1) (iii), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
R. Lakshmi Narayan v. Santhi
Filed Under: Sections 5 (ii)(a)(b) & 12(1)(b) of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955
Appellant: R.Lakshmi Narayan
Respondent: Santhi
Citation: AIR 2001 SC 2110
Court: In the Supreme Court of India
Judges: D.P. Mohapatra & U.C. Banerjee
Facts
R.Lakshmi Narayan and Santhi married according to Hindu rites and customs. The
marriage was arranged after Lakshmi Naryan met Santhi and spoke to her. After the
wedding, the couple stayed together for 25 days and started staying separately
thereafter. Following this, Lakshmi Narayan filed a petition for annulment of their
marriage on the ground that Santhi suffered from chronic and incurable mental
disorder and was not in a fit mental state to lead a married life.
Lakshmi Narayan contended that on the day of the marriage, Santhi refused to have
cohabitation on the grounds that she was suffering from mental disorder from
childhood and that she was forced into the marriage by her parents.
He further alleged that all his attempts to cure her ailment through treatment had
failed and under the said circumstances, he filed a petition for annulment of their
marriage.
Santhi denied all the allegations and stated that she and her husband were not able
to lead a normal married life only on account of her husband‟s refusal to continue
living with her.
She alleged that Lakshmi Narayan was interested in marrying a second time so that
he could procure more dowry. The Trial Court held that Lakshmi Narayan had failed
to establish that Santhi was suffering from any mental disorder or that there had not
been any sexual relationship, and that Santhi was not fit to lead a married life On
these grounds petition was dismissed.
Lakshmi Narayan filed an appeal against the order of the Trial Court. The Appellate
Court held that the Trial Court had failed to look into the medical evidence produced
before the Court.
The Appellate Court therefore reversed the order of the Trial Court. Aggrieved by the
said order, Santhi filed an appeal in the High Court. The High Court reversed the
order of the Appellate Court and restored the order of the Trial Court. Thereafter,
Lakshmi Narayan filed the present appeal.
Observations of the Court
After analyzing the relevant provisions under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Court held
that a petition for annulment on the ground of mental disorder must depend on a
question of degree of the defect in order to rebut the validity of the marriage.
The responsibility of proving that the present case fell within the purview of the
provisions of law was on the spouse filing the petition. Bearing the above principle in
mind, the Court proceeded to examine whether Lakshmi Narayan had succeeded in
establishing the case for declaring the marriage null and void on the ground of
mental incapacity of his wife at the time of marriage.
It was further observed that it was not the case of Lakshmi Narayan that Santhi was
incapable of giving valid consent for marriage in consequence of unsoundness of
mind. From the facts found by the Appellate Court that allowed Lakshmi Narayan‟s
petition it could not be held that Santhi had been suffering from mental disorder of
such a kind or extent as to be unfit for marriage and procreation of children.
Further, to brand the wife as unfit for procreation of children because of mental
disorder it needs to be established that the ailment suffered by her was of such a
kind or such an extent that it was impossible for her to lead a normal married life.
It was also observed that mere giving a finding by the Appellate Court that Santhi
was suffering from some mental disorder and that she had not cohabited with her
husband during the period they stayed together was not sufficient to comply with the
condition prescribed under law.
For the above reasons, this Court held that the High Court could not be faulted for
dismissing the petition of Lakshmi Narayan. Accordingly, the Court did not interfere
with the order of the High Court and dismissed the petition.
Sections Referred:
 Section 5 (ii)(a)(b) & 12(1) (b) of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955
Degree of Mental Illness- Judgments of High Court and Supreme court
Degree of Mental Illness
 Ajitrai Shivprasad Mehta vs. Bai Vasumati
 Bani Devi vs. A.K. Banerjee
 Usha Gupta vs. Santosh Kumar Pahadiya
 Krishna Bhat vs. Srimathi
 Smt Pravati Mishra and Another vs. Jagadnanda Mishra and Another
 Smt. Rita Roy vs. Sitesh Chandra Bhadra Roy
 R. Lakshmi Narayan vs. Santhi
Ajitrai Shivprasad Mehta vs. Bai Vasumati
Filed under: Sections 5(ii), 10(1)(e), 11, 12, 13(1)(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,
Section 45 of the Evidence Act, 1872
Appellant: Ajitrai Shivprasad Mehta
Respondent: Bai Vasumati
Citation: AIR 1969 Gujarat 48 (V 56 C 10)
Court: In the High Court of Gujarat
Judge: J.B. Mehta
This is an appeal filed by Ajitrai Shivprasad Mehta against the order of the Trial Court
dismissing his petition for annulment of his marriage. He had filed the petition on the
grounds that his wife was "mentally unstable" and was unable to lead a normal
married life.
Facts
Ajitrai Shivprasad Mehta, a person with hearing and speech impairment married
Vasumati Bai according to Hindu rites. He stated that he had relied on the
representations made by his wife's father to his father.
After the marriage Vasumati came to live with Ajitrai who discovered that her
"mental condition was defective" and that she was unable to lead a normal married
life. He claimed that he was unaware of this prior to the marriage and that his wife's
mental condition was incurable. Therefore he claimed that he was entitled to
annulment of his marriage or to a divorce.
Vasumati however denied these claims and stated that the marriage was not based
just on her father's representations as there had been opportunities prior to their
marriage when Ajitrai had met her and talked to her.
Vasumati's case was that she is not 'mentally defective' and that this was a ploy on
her husband and her in-law's part. According to her, they had been taunting her for
not being able to bear a child after several years of marriage and that the present
petition was filed so that Ajitrai could remarry.
Arguments made on behalf of Ajitrai
It was argued that -
 The expression 'unsoundness of mind' has a wider connotation and includes
feeble-minded persons and persons of dull intellect who would not be able to
lead a full matrimonial life as other rational persons would do. Such a wide
interpretation would include Vasumati as well who was mentally defective and
the defect was congenital.
 Vasumati was incapable of managing herself or her affairs, including problems
of society and of married life, and such incapacity in her case being
congenital, was necessarily permanent and incurable.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed that Vasumati did not suffer from such mental infirmity that
would make her an 'idiot' or a 'lunatic'. The Court responded to the certificate of
'incurably unsound mind' given by the psychiatrist on which Ajitrai's lawyer relied
heavily on. The Court questioned the validity on several grounds.
 First, the doctor admitted that he had met Vasumati only once and that too
without any clinical examination.
 Further, the doctor had declared that Vasumati was a 'low-grade moron'
pronouncing that she would not be able to carry out the usual household
duties; he however admitted that it was difficult to reach a conclusion about
the degree of mental deficiency without a clinical examination, which takes
the past history into account. The doctor also admitted that without this there
is a likelihood of arriving at an incorrect diagnosis.
 Finally, when questioned by the Court, the doctor stated that he would not
call a person who he thinks is a 'low grade moron' as an idiot. He also added
that Vasumati did not qualify either as an idiot or as a lunatic.
The Court observed that though Vasumati was slow in understanding complicated
questions, she was able to give relevant answers to simple questions and stood the
test of a searching cross-examination. Merely because she had a weak memory of
the roads and places or names of relatives, she was not of 'unsound mind'.
The evidence made it clear that Vasumati was able to manage herself and all her
affairs in her own simple way hence would also be able to cope with the obligations
of a married life. Therefore, the "mental defect" was not of such a degree or extent
that made her incapable of managing herself or her affairs.
This also indicated that she was not a person of 'unsound mind'. The judge also
observed that when the argument of 'unsoundness of mind' is used as a ground for
divorce, it is essential that this diagnosis be proved beyond reasonable doubt to
satisfy the court. And since Ajitrai had not been able to do this, he dismissed the
case.
The Trial Court held that Ajitrai had failed to establish that Vasumati was of 'unsound
mind' at the time of marriage or that her mental condition was incurable. He was
also held guilty of delay as a result of which his petition would not have been granted
even if the grounds had been established. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
Held:The appeal is dismissed with costs.
Sections Referred:
 Sections 5, 10(1), 11, 12(1), 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
 Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Cases Referred:
 Whysall vs. Whysall, 1959 -3 All ER 389, 1960 P 52
 Titli vs. Alfred Robert Jones, ILR 56 All 428, AIR 1934 All 273
 Pancha vs. Emperor, AIR 1932 All 233, 33 Cri LJ 714
 Harrod vs. Harrod, (1854) 1 K & j 4, 2 WR 612
 Daniel McNaghten's case, (1843) 10 Cl. & F 200, 8 ER 718
Quotes from the Judgment:
"A person whose mental defect does not reach the state of insanity known as idiocy
or lunacy can enter into a valid marriage tie and it would be absurd to dissolve nullify
the marriage based on a wide interpretation of 'unsoundness of mind'. Feebleminded
persons or persons of dull intellect in whose cases mental infirmity are not
serious enough to make them incapable of knowing the nature and consequences of
marriage cannot be considered as person of "unsound mind" in the legal sense."
Bani Devi vs. A.K. Banerjee
Filed Under:: Section 13(1)(iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Appellant: Smt Bani Devi
Respondent: A.K. Banerjee
Citation: AIR 1972 DELHI 59
Court: In the High Court of Delhi
Judge: V.D. Misra
This is an appeal by Bani Devi against the decree for divorce that was passed on the
grounds that she was of unsound mind.
Facts
Bani Devi and A.K. Banerjee had an arranged marriage. According to Banerjee, on
the first night of marriage at about mid-night, Bani had shouted and yelled. Her face
had become distorted and her eyeballs had gone in different directions. Her body
was cramping and she was foaming from her mouth. However she regained
consciousness after some time.
The following morning Bani's brother and a doctor were sent for. Her brother
informed Banerjee that such attacks were transitory and that Bani had medicines
with her, which would be helpful. Her brother also gave a brief history to the doctor.
The doctor informed Banerjee that Bani was suffering from epilepsy and advised him
that she should be put in a hospital.
Banerjee also stated that Bani had suffered these strokes for a duration ranging from
15 minutes to 45 minutes. Sometimes their frequency would be two a day and once
she even suffered as many as 12 strokes in 8 hours. Banerjee filed a case for divorce
and was granted the decree on grounds of Bani's unsoundness of mind. She then
filed the present appeal against the decree for divorce.
Bani's brother was called as a witness and he admitted that Banerjee had called him
to his house on the day following the marriage. However he described his sister's
illness as a little bit of headache. Bani contended that she had suffered from some
fits because of her father's death but she also claimed that she had recovered from
them. She denied that she had suffered from any such fits in her husband's house on
the first day of her marriage.
She further stated that she only had headache and also denied that she had been
taking medicines. She also admitted that she had been taken to the doctor the day
after the marriage and had also been admitted in Shadhara Hospital. However,
according to her she had not suffered from any fits during her stay in the hospital.
Observations of the Court
The Court made reference to several relevant acts and analyzed the relevant
evidence. On this basis the Court reached the conclusion that even though the
evidence presented by both the parties was bound to be prejudiced, it was clear that
Bani had suffered from a fit on the night of the marriage and that fit was of such an
alarming nature that her brother had been sent for in the morning and he had taken
her to a doctor. It was also evident to the Court that Bani was in the habit of taking
medicines to overcome such fits.
The medical evidence consisted of various doctors who had examined Bani at some
point. One doctor, a practicing neurosurgeon, stated that her brother had brought
her to him and he had diagnosed her to be suffering from epilepsy with some
associated mental deterioration. He however, was not able to say whether this
disease could be cured or not.
Another doctor, who was working as a psychiatrist in Shadhara hospital and had
treated her, claimed that when she was admitted she was suffering from mental
deficiency along with epileptic psychosis.
According to him, mental deficiency was incurable and epileptic fits of a violent
nature could be controlled to a variable extent but they could not be completely
cured. Bani was discharged after a period of about 3 months on the grounds that
"whatever was possible to be done had been done".
At the time of discharge her epileptic fits had been controlled to some extent. The
doctor also stated that her disorder was congenital. The doctor had discharged her a
few days before she finally left, but since nobody came to take her, she stayed in the
hospital for a few more days. He further claimed that Bani was still having epileptic
fits and fits of violence. He was not cross-examined regarding the sickness or its
nature.
Banerjee also produced the Medical Superintendent and Senior Psychiatrist of the
Shadhara Hospital. On the basis of the records he stated that Bani suffered from
epileptic fits with episodic attacks of violence. He further mentioned that if regular
treatment was given then these fits could be reduced in severity and frequency.
When cross-examined he stated that he had been observing Bani during his weekly
rounds. He further stated that he had recommended discharging her because she
had shown improvement and could be managed at home.
He further stated that Bani's intelligence quotient was found to be 65 and she
therefore had to be put in the category of a 'moron'. He also stated that the patient
was not unsound but during her fits of violence she was of unsound mind. Finally he
added that her IQ at this stage could not be improved.
The Court observed that both the doctors were unanimous in the belief that Bani was
prone to having fits and during these fits she would be violent towards others and
herself. Her discharge from the hospital had been on the criteria that whatever could
be done for her had been done and improvement had been observed in the severity
and frequency of her symptoms.
After examining other similar medical evidence, the Court concluded that Bani was a
person of unsound mind since she was not capable of managing herself or her
affairs. The Court also opined that Bani's unsoundness of mind was incurable and she
had been in this state since her marriage. The appeal was thereby dismissed.
Sections Referred:
 Section 13(1)(iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Cases Referred:
 (1964) 1964-3 All ER 232 = (1964) 3 WLR 935, Robinson vs. Robinson
 (1961) 1961-3 All ER 1105 = (1961) 1 WLR 1481, Chapman vs. Chapman
 (1959) 1959-3 All ER 389 = 1959-3 WLR 592, Whysall vs. Whysall

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