Supreme Court Rules: Husbands to Reimburse Medical Expenses
Close on the heels of the earlier Supreme Court (SC) ruling that the husbands would have to give estranged wives a house at par with the house in which the husband lived (at the time of dissolution of marriage or wife leaving the house of husband), the SC in a judgment earlier this month, further ruled that he would have also to reimburse the medical expenses of estranged wife.
After making registration mandatory for all marriages under Special Marriage Act 1954, irrespective of the religion, these twin rulings would surely make husbands- who are already reeling under the devastating impact of Sec 498A of Indian Penal Code- think twice before approaching courts for redressing marriage related grievances.
The case relates to a couple Rajesh Burman who married Mithul Chatterjee on 26th January’2000 in Kolkata and but differences arose between the two within months and Mithul got injured in a scuffle between the two on 25th June’01.
Consequent upon the incident, Mithul filed a petition for dissolution of marriage as well as reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by her father on her treatment of injuries, which required two surgeries.
Both the Alipore trial court and the Calcutta High Court ruled in favor of the estranged wife. The husband then moved the SC challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court saying he was already paying maintenance to the wife.
Upholding the judgments of both the trial and appeal courts and expanding the meaning of the words ‘Maintenance and Support’, the SC bench comprising of Justice C.K Thakkar and Justice D.K.Jain said, “Under the Act (Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and Sec 125 of Cr.PC), it is clear that the wife is entitled to maintenance and support. The terms (Maintenance and Support) are very wide so as to include medical expenses and both the (lower) courts were right in granting medical reimbursement. The appeal (by the husband) has therefore no substance and must be dismissed.” The court however allowed the petitioner ‘Husband’ to pay the medical bill amounting to little over Rs.2 lacs in installments by 31st December this year.
Tags: Supreme Court , Dissolution Of Marriage , Maintenance To Wife
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