Husband duty bound to take care of ill wife before seeking divorce

Supreme Court: In a divorce matter, where the wife was found suffering from a life threatening disease, the Court held that it is a duty of the husband to take care of the health and safety of the wife and provide facilities for the her treatment.

The husband had sought divorce on ground that his wife had committed various acts of cruelty after solemnization of their marriage. The matter was later transferred to the Supreme Court Mediation Centre where the husband had agreed to pay Rs.12,50,000 towards full and final settlement as alimony, maintenance for past and future or any other claim of the petitioner-wife. In a subsequent application it was urged that divorce be granted by way of mutual consent as the petitioner-wife was in urgent need of funds for her medical treatment.

Considering the abovementioned facts, the bench of M.Y. Eqbal and C. Nagappan, JJ said that it cannot be ruled out that in order to save her life by getting money, the petitioner-wife agreed for a settlement of dissolution of marriage. The Court further said that it is a pre-existing duty of the husband to look after her comforts and not only to provide her food and clothes but to protect her from all calamities and to take care of her health and safety.

Directing the husband to pay Rs. 5, 00, 000 out of Rs.12,50,000/- to the petitioner-wife immediately within a week for her treatment and meeting other medical expenses, the Court held that After the petitioner is fully cured from the disease or within six months whichever is earlier, the Family Court at Hyderabad, where the divorce petition is ordered to be transferred, shall take up the case along with a fresh application that may be filed by the parties under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for divorce by mutual consent.[ Vennangot Anuradha Samir v. Vennangot Mohandas Samir, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 1266, decided on 02.12.2015]

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