Sec.10 (1)(vii)(ix) and Sec.19(3) of Divorce Act - Divorce on the Grounds of Lunatic and Idiot - both are different things - Uncertainty - No certificate issued under sec.18 and 19 of filed under Lunacy Act - Evidence of Doctor not helpful - she passed Degree and passed type higher in three languages - A person can be said to be lunatic if he is virtually a mad person and is insane for all practical purposes. It is only when the person exhibits extreme characteristics that he can be categorized or called as lunatic. The word 'idiot' is explained in the Chambers Dictionary as connoting "a foolish or unwise person; a person afflicted with the severest degree of intellectual sub- normality, and having low intelligence quotient" - the husband failed to prove both aspects - Trial court orders are set aside - Appeals are allowed - 2015 A.P.(2014) MSKLAWREPORTS
Sec.10(1)(vii)(ix) and 19(3) of Divorce Act (for short 'the Act') for declaring his marriage with the appellant as null and void.-Their marriage took place , according to the Christian customs and rites.-the parents of the appellant concealed the fact that the appellant is a lunatic - every effort was made by him to save the marriage, proved to be futile. -though they lived together for sometime, their marriage itself deserved to be declared as null and void.-According to her, she studied up to Degree and she completed typewriting courses in English, Hindi and Telugu. She pleaded that her conduct was never abnormal, much less she is a lunatic or an idiot. She alleged that the O.P., was filed by the respondent against the wishes, even of his mother and the same is liable to be dismissed.-filed O.P.No.98 of 2009 for restitution of conjugal rights.-The only ground pleaded by the respondent against the appellant is that she is of extraordinary behaviour and conduct, leading to an inference that she is a lunatic or an idiot.-The trial Court decreed the O.P., filed by the respondent under Sec.10 of the Act, and dismissed the one filed by the appellant for restitution of conjugal rights.-It is the expectation of everyone to interact with the persons with ordinary tendency and behaviour. It is particularly so in the context of marriage. No one would wish to have a life-partner, whose conduct or behaviour is different from the one expected from ordinary human beings. Obviously, for that reason, law recognizes the extraordinary conduct or behaviour of a party to the marriage, as a ground for the other, to seek divorce or nullification.-Section 10(1)(iii) of the Indian Divorce Act enables a party to the marriage to seek a decree of nullity against the other spouse, if the latter was a lunatic or idiot 'as on the date of marriage'.- "Sec.10.Grounds for dissolution of marriage: (1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act,
2001, may, on a petition presented to the District Court either by the husband or the wife, be dissolved on the ground that since the solemnization of the marriage, the respondent -
(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind for a continuous period of not less
than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(vii) has willfully refused to consummate the marriage and the marriage has not
therefore been consummated; or
(ix) has deserted the petitioner for at least two years immediately preceding
the presentation of the petition;"
The expression used in the Indian Divorce Act, the 'lunacy or other mental
disorder' is dealt with under two separate provisions. In case a party to the
marriage was lunatic or idiot as on the date of the marriage, Section 19 read
with Sec.18 of the Act enables the other spouse to seek a decree of nullity of
marriage. Section 19 (3) reads as under:
"19. Grounds of decree - Such decree may be made on any of the following grounds
(3) that either party was a lunatic or idiot at the time of the marriage"
If, on the other hand, such disability or disorder has occurred at a later
point of time and remained for a period of not less than two years, the
aggrieved party can file a petition under Section 10 of the Act for dissolution
of the marriage. - In the instant case, the respondent invoked both the provisions. It only means that he was not clear as to whether the appellant was a lunatic or an idiot, as on the date of marriage, or that the same has occurred to the appellant immediately two years preceding to filing of the O.P. This uncertainty would certainly have its own impact upon the merits of the O.P - A person can be said to be lunatic if he is virtually a mad person and is insane for all practical purposes. It is only when the person exhibits extreme characteristics that he can be categorized or called as lunatic. The word 'idiot' is explained in the Chambers Dictionary as connoting "a foolish or unwise person; a person afflicted with the severest degree of intellectual sub- normality, and having low intelligence quotient"-The trial Court passed an order directing that the appellant be examined by a qualified Doctor in the Government Medical College, Guntur. Accordingly, PW-3, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Guntur Medical College, examined the appellant. His evidence is to the effect that though he found some abnormalities in the behaviour of the appellant, his observation is not sufficient to conclude that she was suffering from psychosis. This witness was not cross-examined by the appellant. PW-4 is the Superintendent of Government Hospital, Guntur. It is important to
note that the alleged examination of the appellant by this witness was not on the basis of any order passed by the Court.- Sections 18 & 19 of the Indian Lunacy Act prescribes detailed procedure to be followed in the context of issuing medical certificates in respect of persons, who are said to be suffering from lunacy. The certificate is required to be issued in Form-3 appended to the
said Act. The two sections referred to above stipulate the manner in which the medical practitioner must examine and the nature of precautions to be taken by him before issuing certificate. The provisions read as under: "Sec.18.Medical Certificates.- (1) Every medical certificate under this
Act shall be made and signed by a medical practitioner or a medical officer, as
the case may be, and shall be in the form prescribed.
(2) Every medical certificate shall state the facts upon which the persons
certifying has formed his opinion that the alleged lunatic is a lunatic,
distinguishing facts observed by himself from facts communicated by others, and
no reception order on petition shall be made upon a certificate founded only
upon facts communicated by others.
(3) Every medical certificate made under this Act shall be evidence of the
facts therein appearing and of the judgment therein stated to have been formed
by the persons certifying on such facts, as if the matters therein appearing had
been verified on oath. - Sec.19. Time and manner of medical examination of lunatic.- (1) A reception
order required to be founded on a medical certificate shall not be made unless the persons who signs the medical certificate, or, whether two certificates are required, each person who signs a certificate has personally examined the alleged lunatic, in the case of an order upon petition, not more that seven
clear days before the date of the presentation of the petition, and, in all other cases not more than seven clear days before the date of the order.
(2) Where two medical certificates are required, a reception order shall not be
made unless each person signing a certificate has examined the alleged lunatic
separately from the other.- Admittedly, no precautions as provided under Sections 18 & 19
of Indian Lunacy Act were taken by PW-4, nor any certificate was issued by himin Form-3 appended to the said Act.- Once a person is branded as a lunatic, he would virtually forego several civil rights, such as capacity to contract, right to take independent decisions. He loses respect in the society, which, a man with the ordinary traits can expect.- Another aspect is that if a person is declared as lunatic, he cannot figure as an independent person in any proceedings before a Court. He is required to be assisted by a person that may be appointed by the concerned Court, that too under a specific legal regime.- The case on hand presents a typical contradiction. If the appellant is, in fact, a lunatic, the question of her being shown as independent party in the O.P., does not arise. It was only through a guardian or other representative as provided for in law, that she could have been shown as a party. Hence, there is a serious defect in the very form of framing the O.P., instituted by the
respondent.- On merits also, we find that the conclusion arrived at by the trial Court
cannot be sustained. - If at all there is something extraordinary with her, it is in the context of passing typewriting examinations in three different languages, namely Telugu, Hindu and English. Even for ordinary persons, it is difficult to pass the typewriting examinations in two languages. When such is the brilliance and sharpness of the appellant, it is nave to plead that she is a lunatic or for that matter 'idiot'. - Something should be seriously wrong with a person, who calls the appellant an idiot or lunatic.- It may be true that some typical characteristics may have been noticed on the part of the appellant. One has to recognize the fact that no two citizens are endowed with the same kind of intelligence to such a degree that both react to the situation in the same manner. It is only when the extraordinary behaviour of a person is such that his or her spouse just cannot lead normal life; that it can constitute a ground for divorce. The likes or dislikes of a party hardly matter.-We therefore allow both the appeals and set aside the decree of divorce passed by the trial Court. -2015 A.P.(2014)MSKLAWREPORTS