SC will consider whether refusing to acknowledge an alleged mental disorder can be grounds for divorce

The Supreme Court decided to examine the crucial question of whether the refusal to recognize an alleged mental illness and to obtain medical treatment by a spouse can be grounds for granting a divorce.

The case was taken to the High Court after a woman from Kerala and currently working in the UK challenged the High Court judgment allowing her husband’s divorce petition for refusing to undertake treatment for suspected paranoid schizophrenia.

Acting on his plea, a bench of judges Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to the husband on Friday and stayed the HC’s order of September 2, 2021.

The woman, through her plea filed by barrister Vipin Nair, argued that the High Court at some point in the order said the woman did not suffer from any sort of mental disorder and that he did not There was no basis for granting a divorce on grounds of insanity. However, in another place the High Court incorrectly observed that she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

She relied on the Supreme Court judgment in Kollam Chandra Shekhar v. Kollam Padma Latha (2014) that a spouse’s illness cannot be a reason to grant a divorce judgment even if it results in a unusual behavior that is not expected under normal conditions. wedded life.

Additionally, the same High Court division had dismissed her husband’s claim for custody of her two daughters, saying she was mentally fit to care for the children, in separate proceedings.

He also pointed out that the High Court did not consider that she was a qualified nurse and worked in several reputable medical establishments and was currently employed in the UK with the National Health Service Scheme.

Her plea also stated that she had never admitted that she suffered from mental illness, so there could be no question that she treated the husband with cruelty and therefore no divorce could have been granted on this ground alone.

The couple married according to Christian rites and ceremonies on September 1, 2001 in a church. Two daughters were born in 2002 and 2009. After about a decade, the woman left her marital home, saying her in-laws were determined to get a statement that she suffered from mental illness.

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