OBSERVING THAT the wife’s mental illness is not sufficient to prove that she is incapable of having a healthy domestic relationship, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has rejected a divorce petition filed by a Gurgaon man alleging that his wife was incapable of continuing the relationship due to her illness.
Stating that the medical examination of the woman reveals that psychotic illness and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) were treatable with proper medication and regular follow-up treatment, the division bench of Justices Rakesh Kumar Jain and Harnaresh Singh Gill said the illnesses may not be curable but can be managed.
“Merely because the respondent-wife is suffering from Psychotic illness or OCD by itself, is insufficient to prove that she is incapable of having healthy domestic relationship. Thus, the appellant cannot claim divorce on the ground of cruelty on account of her mental illness,” the verdict read.
The court further said that there is no record showing any suicidal action or other violent behaviour by the woman, adding the allegations of cruelty are vague and the assertions made by the husband are not corroborated by any oral, medical or documentary evidence.
“To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of should be “grave and weighty” so as to come to the conclusion that one spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse. It must be something more serious than “ordinary wear and tear” of married life. Cruelty is also a course or conduct of one, which can adversely effect the other spouse. But before the conduct can be called cruelty, it must touch a certain pitch of severity which we do not find it in the case in hand,” the order read dated April 9.
The couple had married in November 2008. The husband had claimed before a family court that his wife, while on way to Manali, attempted to jump out of a running taxi. She would talk in “foul language” and kept herself locked in the bathroom for several hours, he alleged. It was also argued that she would sleep for 24 hours at a stretch and lit lamp at night on occasions. Alleging mental torture and harassment, the husband further claimed that his wife left the matrimonial home in September 2009.
However, the wife in response said that she was being tortured and a dowry demand of Rs 4 lakh was made from her. The husband’s plea for divorce was dismissed by the lower court in 2015 after which he approached the high court.
In the high court, his counsel argued that the wife was “suffering from fits” but it was never disclosed to the husband or his family. The wife’s counsel argued that the doctor has already given a statement that the mental health condition did not prevent her from having a healthy relationship with the husband.