Delhi High Court
Reserved on 05.10.2021
Pronounced on: 24.12.2021
MAT. APP. (F.C.) 142/2020
CASE TITLE :
SANDEEP AGGARWAL. ….. Petitioner
Through: Mr. Asutosh Lohia, Advocate.
PRIYANKA AGGARWAL …. Respondent
Through: Mr. Mohan Lal, Advocate.
Summary of Case :
The appellant-husband contended that the his marriage was the outcome of a calculated fraud that was perpetrated by the wife and her family members. It was submitted that they deliberately chose not to disclose a vital and crucial fact regarding her mental health. It was stated that the wife was suffering from Acute Schizophrenia even before marriage, and during the days that she stayed with the appellant-husband. He mentioned strange behaviour of wife after marriage in the matrimonial home, as well as during their honeymoon.
The Family Court in its impugned order noed that it can’t be proved that, prior to her marriage, the wife was suffering from Schizophrenia. It was also observed that the appellant failed to prove that his consent to marriage was obtained by playing fraud and suppressing material fact concerning the illness of his wife
The Court relied upon wife’s behaviour during her cross-exmaination, which it called ‘normal’.
The Counsel for the Appellant has submitted that courts are illequipped to weigh, analyse and arrive at definite findings of mental condition/illness of a litigant on their own. Hence, he has argued that the Respondent-Wife must be examined by a Medical Board of experts in the field, to ascertain the medical condition of the respondent in view of the rival claims made by the appellant and respondent. He relied on the judgment in Sharda v. Dharmpal, 2003 SC to submit that that the Court can always direct examination by a medical expert, to call for the medical opinion to arrive at the truth.
The Court on the outset noted that the denial of the respondent-wife to evaluation of her condition by an independent Medical Board to be appointed by the Court, is of material importance.
“The Courts, to be able to decide such issues, needs expert opinion from credible persons in the field. The parties are also entitled to grant of opportunity to either support, or challenge the opinion that the experts may give after examination of the person concerned, and all other relevant materials. However, what weighs with us, at the outset is the denial of the respondent to subject herself to evaluation of her condition by an independent Medical Board to be appointed by the Court. This conduct itself raises a presumption against the respondent.”
It further said that the outright refusal of the respondent to undergo any medical examination, prevents the court arriving at the truth.
It has been held by the Supreme Court in Kollam Chandra Sekhar Vs. Kollam Padma Latha, 2013 SC by relying on the testimony of a doctor that Schizophrenia “is a treatable, manageable disease, which can be put on a par with hypertension and diabetes.” However, the same requires determination by a doctor, the Court added.
The Court went onto mention how well established communication is one of the key elements of any marriage and how hiding facts can alter lives of the spouses.
Admitting tha the medical opinion in the present case were not conclusive, the Court however noted that the evidence of the doctors coupled with the medical documents signals that the wife infact was suffering from schizophrenia.
In view of the above, the Court noted that the Family Court fell in error in rejecting the appellant‟s application. It called the approach that the appellant had to fend for himself, and he couldn’t seek a direction from the Court for medical examination of the respondent as ‘erroneous’.
It thus quahsed the impugned order.
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