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Removal of uterus due to ovarian cancer not cruelty warranting dissolution of marriage: Madras High Court [Read Judgment]

By Rintu Mariam Biju      03 January, 2024 04:46 PM      0 Comments
Removal of uterus due to ovarian cancer not cruelty warranting dissolution of marriage Madras High Court Read Judgment

Chennai: The Madras High Court has clarified that removal of a wife’s uterus due to ovarian cancer is not a cruelty, and therefore, not a ground for dissolution of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act. 

“Hence, taking into entirety of the circumstances, we have no hesitation to hold that during the subsistence of marriage, when the wife was diagnosed with 'Ovarian Cancer' and during the treatment, her Uterus was removed, the same cannot be treated as a cruelty to the husband much less 'mental cruelty' since it is not 'Act of the wife' but only as 'Act of FATE or DESTINY'”  

The court was hearing a plea challenging the order which rejected the dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty filed under Section 13(1)(ia)(ib) & 5(ii)(b) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

The counsel for the appellant husband argued that after the removal of the uterus, the chances of child birth to the appellant is impossible and therefore, he sought a divorce on the ground of cruelty, desertion and irretrievable breakdown of marriage. 

Further, it was argued that the wife was suffering from cancer and therefore, there is a suppression of material facts with regard to her competency to bear child. 

The Family Court concluded there was no evidence of suppression of any material fact on the medical ground of the petitioner and prior to the marriage, there was no symptom of cancer and the subsequent affliction of cancer, which resulted in the removal of uterus, cannot be a ground for dissolution of marriage. The alleged cruelty and desertion are not proved in the manner known to law, and so, the divorce petition was dismissed by the court. Aggrieved, the appellant moved the high court. 

Hearing the rival arguments, the court noted that the wife’s uterus was removed due to a life-threatening situation. 

“The wife is a Cancer survivor. She has survived the brutal attempts made by the dangerous disease of Cancer. However, during the treatment to fight against the Cancer, on medical grounds and due to emergency and life threatening situation the doctor has removed her Uterus and the same was intimated to the husband. In such a circumstance, we find that only during the subsistence of marriage, wife was afflicted with Cancer which resulted in removal of the Uterus, cannot be termed as a ground of mental cruelty warranting dissolution of marriage”.

The Court also clarified that the period of treatment she has taken from the parental home can’t be termed as desertion. 

Also, with regard to Section 5(ii)(b) of the Hindu Marriage Act, since the cancer was not a pre-existing disease at the time of marriage and on that ground too, the husband isn’t entitled for divorce, the Court ruled. 

The Court also noted that the “golden-hearted” husband who said to the wife before the surgery “You be my child, I be yours”, was poisoned by the certain relatives. 

“Such a golden hearted husband was poisoned by some vested interest relatives, to file the divorce petition. Thus, we find that seeking divorce has not stemmed from the heart of the husband but only appears to have surfaced from a communicable disease, viz., ill-effects of some relatives who wanted to exploit the pitiable and pathetic situation, by raising the plea of progeny”.

“The human relation itself is fragile, but human mind is more fragile and it will break in a split second and hence, the case should be assessed in entirety but not in isolation”, the Court added before dismissing the appeal.

 

[Read Judgment]



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