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Karnataka High Court Upholds Stringent Criteria for Referring Spouse to Psychiatrists in Divorce Cases

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by News Desk


In a recent ruling, the Karnataka High Court emphasized the necessity of substantial evidence before considering an application to subject a spouse to psychiatric evaluation in divorce proceedings. The judgment, delivered by Justice M Nagaprasanna, dismissed a husband’s petition challenging the family court’s decision to defer his request for his wife’s psychiatric examination. The court not only upheld the family court’s decision but also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the husband, emphasizing the need for strong prima facie evidence in such matters.


The central issue addressed by the Karnataka High Court was the validity of the husband’s application seeking to refer his wife to a Board of Psychiatrists for evaluation based on allegations of unsoundness of mind.


The court emphasized that the mere filing of such an application does not warrant immediate acceptance. Instead, there must be substantial grounds supported by evidence to justify referring the spouse for psychiatric examination. The judgment highlighted the importance of adhering to legal procedures and ensuring a fair evaluation of the evidence presented.


The court scrutinized the evidence presented by both parties. While the husband cited a medical assessment suggesting his wife’s mental age to be significantly lower than her chronological age, the wife countered with documentation showcasing her achievements and talents, which contradicted the alleged mental incapacity. The court concluded that the husband’s attempt to annul the marriage based on claims of his wife’s unsoundness of mind lacked merit and was deemed an abuse of legal process.


In light of the foregoing analysis, the Karnataka High Court upheld the family court’s decision to defer the husband’s application for his wife’s psychiatric evaluation. The judgment serves as a reminder of the stringent criteria required for such assessments in divorce proceedings and emphasizes the need for substantial evidence before invoking psychiatric evaluations in marital disputes.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh

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