In a matrimonial dispute, wherein the wife, without revealing her cardiac ailments, had obtained the consent of the husband for marriage, the Kerala High Court held that this was the case of suppression of material factum and was undoubtedly a foul play and nothing short of fraud.
Background of the Case
O.P No.1128 of 2012 was filed by the husband in the Family Court, Irinjalakuda seeking to declare the marriage between himself and the respondent (wife) null and void, for the reason that it was solemnized without the due knowledge of the health condition of the wife, and by suppressing this fact, the wife had obtained his consent for marriage.
Along with this, Original Petition No. 1126 of 2012 was also filed by the husband seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and their men from trespassing into the petition schedule property and general damages for the loss suffered.
Stand of the Husband
It was alleged that from initial days of marital life itself, the wife behaved extraordinarily with the husband. She was always on medication and the consequence was well reflected in her conduct. She was unable to have sexual intercourse due to consumption of heavy dosage of powerful medicines.
The husband took the wife to a Gynaecologist at Carmel Hospital, Aluva and during the course of consultation; she informed the doctor that she is suffering from some heart disease.
The Doctor then referred her to the Cardiologist for better management. The husband came to know about the illness of the wife only at the time of consultation with the Gynaecologist in the year 2005.
It was disclosed to him that the wife is suffering from acute Rheumatic heart disease, grossly dilated left atrium, mild mitral stenosis, severe mitral regurgitation, mild pulmonary artery hypotension and thrombosis inside the left ventricle.
He was also made aware that his wife is incapacitated to have sexual intercourse and to conceive. Due to the anticoagulant tablets taken by her, every possibility was also there for the foetus in the womb to be deformed.
Since he didn't know about the health condition of her wife till the year 2005, therefore, he maintained the impression that she is a normal woman capable of leading a normal married life.
Stand of the Wife
In the objection filed, the averments except those specifically admitted were denied by the wife. It was contended that the marriage was arranged after duly transpiring information about the ailment suffered by her.
The marriage was consummated and her ailment never formed a reason to defeat it. The husband had told severally that he married her only to attend the needs of his aged mother and to take care of her
According to her, medical practitioners having expertise on the subject had not spoken that the lady is fully incapacitated to conceive, but only about the risk involved in the conception and therefore, the Family court ought not to have arrived at a finding that the marriage was not consummated.
The Court took into account the fact that the husband alleged that fraud was played upon him by his wife and her relatives, while getting the marriage arranged and solemnized. According to him, the declaration that the marriage is null and void was also obtained for this reason.
In the court, it was established that she was a heart patient prior to the marriage itself and was undergoing treatment under PW4 since 2005.
PW1's evidence that he was informed firstly about the heart ailments of his wife only in the year 2005 was also not controverted by the wife during cross examination. She did not even attempt to convince the court that the husband was informed of her ailments prior to the marriage itself.
In the above scenario, the Court was constrained to take a view that without revealing the cardiac ailments the wife had, the consent of the husband for marriage was obtained.
The Court remarked,
"The suppression of a material factum like the one on hand, is undoubtedly a foul play and nothing short of fraud."
Therefore, the Court noted, the evidence available is sufficient to take a view that the consent of the husband for the marriage was obtained by playing fraud on him.
The Court saw no reason to find fault with the Family Court in granting a decree declaring the marriage as null and void on the strength of the evidence already discussed with.
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