Utt HC | Denial of mental illness has to be supported by evidence to rebut allegations; Divorce upheld as wife was unable to produce any substantial evidence

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Alok Singh and Ravindra Maithani, JJ. entertained an appeal filed by the appellant-wife who challenged the judgment passed by the Family Court, dissolving the marriage of the appellant and respondent.

In the initial case, the respondent-husband had alleged that the appellant was mentally sick and she suffered from generalized epilepsy, it was further contended that the case of the appellant was incurable. The respondent narrated that on the third day of marriage itself the appellant felt unconscious and with the passage of time due to the mental illness of the appellant the couple was not able to consummate. Hence on the basis of mental disorder, the respondent sought divorce which was duly awarded by the Family Court, after examining witnesses and evidences.

The said appellant hence filed the instant appeal and contended that she never suffered from such mental disorder and thus, the allegation of the respondent was false. She also contended that the marriage was consummated and she was pregnant at a point of time but pregnancy was aborted due to uncertain circumstances. She denied all the allegations made by the appellant and alleged that demand of dowry was made by the respondent’s family, as the demand was not fulfilled the respondent deserted her. It was further contended that the decision of the Family Court was not justified and the appellant never wanted divorce.

The Family Court had observed that the appellant-wife had not presented any evidence or witness in support of her claim and she had simply denied the claims and allegation made by the respondent.

In the instant appeal the counsel for the appellant, J.P. Joshi, placed reliance on Kollam Chandra Sekhar v. Kollam Padma Latha, 2013 AIR SCW 5559, where Supreme Court observed that if mental illness is proved, and even then the family court was not justified in granting the divorce. The Court observed that all the witnesses produced by the husband supported his case. It was further observed that the husband stated that appellant–wife was not able to do her day to day work; he had to maintain her in every possible way. The Court found that the appellant wife had not disclosed about her illness prior to marriage. The statement of the medical practitioner was attached who examined the appellant and found that she suffered from mental illness. The Court found the story of the respondent to be true. It was held that, “Since there is no rebuttal with proof on the part of appellant wife, we have no option except to accept the version of respondent-husband that appellant wife is mentally sick and she was unable to manage her matrimonial life. Appellant wife had neither produced any witness nor got herself examined as a witness.” The Court stated that in the present case the decision of Kollam was not applicable as in Kollam the wife did not show any symptom of psychotic illness and responded well to the treatment but in this particular case wife was not able to manage her daily martial life. Hence the judgment of the Family Court was upheld.[Mamta Negi v. Yogendra Singh Negi, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 576, decided on 12-07-2019]

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