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Could I get a judicial separation from a mentally unstable wife?

Shivendra Pratap Singh


I have a mentally unstable wife. She is harassing me for the last 10 years. Her behaviour and conduct are extremely bad. I have an adorable daughter who is 11 years old. Examples of her insane behaviour are — Since the last three years, my daughter is not going to school due to her behaviour. She does not allow her to play with other kids.

She shouts abuses at neighbours, using slang words and often has quarrelled with them for no reason- I had to change my rented house almost every year since the last 11 years.

I fear that I would be implicated for any drastic action taken by her. Severe embarrassment to me as this behaviour gets witnessed by the neighbours. She is not ready to go to the doctor for counselling. I asked her numerous times to see a psychiatrist with me. She denies that she has a problem and continues to refuse to get help.

She speaks absurd and non- sensical statements all the time. Her behaviour is very strange and childish. She frequently cleans her clothes. She often threatens me with police action stating that she will file a police complaint.

There are repetitious arguments, unfounded accusations, complete withdrawals from the relationship unwillingness or inability to discuss important issues despite my efforts to engage her. Problems like this continued to occur frequently despite repeated attempts to identify and discuss the issues that bother her.

This is something other than marital disagreement is occurring. I stuck around for a long time – 10 years, for the sake of the child and hoping that she will become normal sooner or later. She has a mental disorder of a kind and it is of such extent that we cannot live with her. I and my daughter cannot expect to live with her.

Question from: Madhya Pradesh

You cannot get judicial separation on the curable mental disease of your wife. However, her behaviour is unstable and sometimes she becomes violent but she has not been doing such things deliberately. You should consult a psychiatrist and give proper treatment. 

If her disease is incurable or her violent behaviour causes apparent threat of life, limb or health then you can seek judicial separation. Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act provides judicial separation on the same grounds of divorce under section 13

The marriage subsists in case of judicial separation. You can seek judicial separation under section 13(1)(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act. The section read as:

has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

Doctor’s opinion is mandatory 

In this case, the doctor’s opinion is mandatory to satisfy the court that her mental disorder is incurable. The court may grant a decree of judicial separation if it finds that 

  • Your wife’s mental is incurable.
  • She has been continuously suffering from that disorder. 
  • The nature of mental disorder exists in such an extent that it is not advisable to live with her.

File a civil suit under section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act

In the above situation, the court may grant a decree of judicial separation. So you should file a civil suit under section 10 for the judicial separation. You have to produce evidence regarding her behaviour and acts of mental disorder. The court may take the opinion of a doctor to ascertain that whether your wife is mentally unstable.

After taking off the opinion and considering all the prevailing circumstances of your case the court may grant a decree of judicial separation.

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