New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that divorce cannot be granted to a couple even under mutual consent if the wife is terminally ill, observing that a Hindu wife considers her husband as God who must stand by her in difficult times.
The plea for separation can be considered only after the wife gets well, the top court ruled.
A bench headed by MY Eqbal refused to allow divorce petition of a husband even after wife agreed to the proposal after the court came to know that she was suffering from advance stage of cancer and she required immediate medical care.
“Hindu marriage is a sacred and holy union of husband and wife by virtue of which the wife is completely transplanted in the household of her husband and takes a new birth. It is a combination of bone to bone and flesh to flesh. To a Hindu wife her husband is her God and her life becomes one of the selfless service and profound dedication to her husband. She not only shares the life and love, but the joys and sorrows, the troubles and tribulation of her husband and becomes an integral part of her husband’s life and activities” the bench said.
In this case, the wife had agreed for divorce after husband agreed to pay Rs 12.5 lakh as alimony to her. Observing that the wife might have given consent for divorce as she needed money for her treatment, the court directed the husband to pay Rs 5 lakh to her for treatment and the case would be heard only after she recovers from illness.
“It is evident that the wife needs sufficient amount of money for the treatment of breast cancer. Hence, it cannot be ruled out that in order to save her life by getting money, she agreed for a settlement of dissolution of marriage, ” it said.
The court said marriage law enjoins the corresponding duty on 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.
“After the petitioner (wife) 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 for divorce by mutual consent,” it said
” On these facts, a question that came in our mind is as to whether the court would be justified in granting a decree for divorce on the basis of settlement when the wife is suffering with breast cancer and is in need of money for her treatment and can that be the consideration for dissolution of marriage,” it said.