Wife removing uterus due to cancer leaving her unable to conceive not cruelty to husband: Madras High Court

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A married woman getting her uterus removed after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer thus leaving her unable to conceive cannot be termed as an act of mental cruelty towards her husband, the Madras High Court recently held.

In a judgment passed on December 22, Justices RMT Teekaa Raman and PB Balaji of the Madurai bench upheld an order of the family court that had dismissed a man’s plea for the dissolution of his marriage on the grounds of mental cruelty, desertion, and suppression of material facts.

The man, the appellant before the High Court in the present case, had claimed that his wife had suppressed material facts about her health. He argued that his wife’s inability to bear children after the removal of her uterus amounted to mental cruelty as defined under the Hindu Marriage Act.

However, the High Court held that the family court had been correct in dismissing such a plea because the woman had been diagnosed with cancer after her marriage. She had no symptoms before the marriage and therefore, it could not be said the she had suppressed any medical information, the High Court opined.

“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. 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 High Court said.

Advocate MP Senthil appeared for the appellant husband.

Advocate Aayiram K Selvakumar appeared for the respondent wife.

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