Decided on April 20,1970

G.R. Selvaraj Respondents


K.S.Palaniswamy, J. - (1.) THIS is an appeal filed by the wife from the decision of the Additional Judge, City Civil Court, Madras, confirming he decree of he trial Court dissolving the marriage between he appellant and the respondent on the ground that the appellant was incurably of unsound mind for a continuous period of three years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition for divorce. The husband -respondent is employed as an Appraiser in the Customs Department. He married the appellant in February, 1949, when hey were respectively aged about 22 and 16. There are five children of he marriage, a boy and four girls. The boy is the eldest and is aged about 15 and the youngest girl is aged 7. The last child was born in January, 1959, and at hat time the appellant was sterilised. Therefore, there is no prospect of the appellant bringing forth any more child. Even in the middle of 1951, the appellant appears to have showed signs of mental ailment. That necessitated her being treated by Dr. Dairiam, Superintendent of the Mental Hospital, Madras. She was also treated by other doctors. But hat treatment did not give the desired relief. The appellant was treated at he Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, from September, 1961 to December, 1965. The doctor who treated her was Dr. Rose Chack , who has given evidence on behalf of the respondent as P.W. 1. Throughout the period the appellant was not treated as an in -patient. For some time she was treated as an i -patient and for some time she was treated as an out -patient. Exhibit A -1 is he history sheet maintained in that hospital. That contains all the details of he treatment, including prior history, the treatment given from time to time , he condition of the patient, etc. The disease was diagnosed to be Paranoid Schizophrenia.
(2.) IN support of his complaint that his wife was insane, the respondent -husband spoke of some incidents and let in evidence by way of corroboration. Both the Courts below have accepted the evidence with regard to three incidents. In the year 1959, he respondent celebrated the house -warming ceremony (grahapravesam) of a house built in Alagappa Nagar. The evidence establishes that at the time of the function, the appellant poured hot coffee on the head of he respondent. In October, 1962, the respondent's father passed away. When mourning was being observed, the appellant is said to have picked up a quarrel with her mother -in -law and thrown an ever -silver utensil at her. In January, 1964, the marriage of the respondent's younger brother took place, and according to the custom, the appellant was to participate in some of he ceremonies along with the respondent. But she did not attend the function. Both the Courts below have accepted the respondent's case with regard to these incidents. Wish regard to the incident when the appellant was said to have thrown an ever -silver utensil at her mother -in law, the respondent relied on Exhibit A -5, which is a letter written to him by the appellant's brother, R.W. 3, in which R.W. 3 has indirectly admitted that the appellant was not of sound mind. But these incidents by themselves are not sufficient to prove the unsoundness mind, much less incurable unsoundness of mind for a continuous period of three years prior to the presentation of the petition. On the side of the respondent -husband, two doctors, gave evidence, and they are Dr. Rose Chacko, P.W. 1, Psychiatric specialist working in the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, where the appellant underwent treatment, and Dr. Bhushanam, P.W. 6, Professor of Mental Diseases in the Stanlay Hospital, Madras, and Physician in the Government Mental Hospital, Madras. The appellant examined Dr. Ganesan R.W. 4, Civil Assistant Surgeon, Government Mental Hospital, Madras P.W. 6 and R.W. 4 had no occasion to examine the appellant. They gave their respective opinions based upon a study of the details found in the case sheet, Exhibit A -1. On examining the details of the treatment, P.W. 6 gave his opinion that the chances of recovery were extremely impossible and that the appellant would not be in a position to share the responsibility of household life. He was willing to examine the appellant, but the appellant did not submit herself to an examination. P.W. 6 is a specialist whereas R.W. 4 is not a specialist, and has not even obtained a Diploma in mental sciences. His opinion is that paranoid schizophrenia is curable. He however, admits that electric shock treatment would be given only in advanced mental cases and that inasmuch as the appellant had been given 63 shocks, he had to concede that the appellant should have been an extreme mental case. Inasmuch as the opinions of these two doctors are based upon mere examination of the records, I think it is better to act upon the evidence of P.W. 1 the specialist under whom the appellant admittedly underwent treatment at Vellore. The evidence of P.W. 1 is hat she found he appellant suffering from mental illness, that the mental illness could not be completely cured in spite of the treatment given for five years and that the illness was paranoid schizophrenia. She, however, admits in cross -examination that some of the cases of schizophrenia treated by her had been cured. Even at the time when P.W. 1 gave evidence she was giving treatment to the appellant. On the basis of what she observed even at the time of giving evidence P.W. 1 said that the appellant had not been completely cured and that some of the initial ailments for which the appellant came to her for treatment in 1961 still persisted. She also said hat 'he appellant can look after herself, but some of she old mental ailments would still persist. The sum and substance of her evidence is that though paranoid schizophrenia is a curable disease, the appellant could not be cured completely in spite of treatment for five years. [After discussing the evidence His Lordship proceeded : ]
(3.) ON the evidence, she learned Counsel for the appellant contended that the findings of the Courts below that the appellant was of incurable unsound mind for a continuous period of three years prior to (he presentation of he petition is not warranted and that at the worst against the appellant it could only be said that she appellant is a person of weak intellect. It is also contended on behalf of the appellant that it has not been proved hat he disease from which the appellant is suffering is incurable or that the unsoundness of mind was for a continuous period of three years immediately before the presentation of the petition.;

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