'Wife's decision to remain a virgin equal to extreme cruelty'

The Bandra Family Court has observed that hiding a serious medical condition from a husband prior to marriage amounts to ‘cruelty’, and has granted a divorce to an IITian and engineering professor at the University of Cambridge. His wife, six years his junior, is a student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She suffers from a common genetic defect called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Dr Acharya Aadimoolan (35) married Oorvasi Paamaran (29) (names changed to protect identities) in Chennai on August 19, 2007. A US national, the doctor is currently a part of the academic faculty at the University of Cambridge and specialises in Nanoscience and Microsystems Technology.

According to his petition, he found his wife sobbing on the night of the marriage. He tried to console her. However, as the days passed, Oorvasi continually suffered from extreme mood swings and became ‘unpredictable’. She would allegedly over-react to trivial issues.

Judge PL Palsingankar noted, “He expected the respondent as a young newly-married lady to be enthusiastic, vibrant and cheerful but found that she was extremely lethargic and inactive and often lying in bed for twelve hours a day.”

After the couple visited a marriage counsellor, Oorvasi disclosed that she intended to remain a virgin even after marriage and had no intention of having a conjugal union.

It was only in October 2007, two months after their marriage, that Aadimoolan learnt that his wife had a medical condition called ‘Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome’. Frustrated with his crumbling marriage, the doctor filed for divorce. During the proceedings, Oorvasi refused to appear before the court’s marriage counsellor.

Despite being aware of the proceedings in the Family Court, Oorvasi expressed her inability to travel from Chennai, and never showed up for hearings.

Judge Palsingankar observed in his judgment that both parties were highly qualified, and the wife’s conduct was unacceptable. He said, “What is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case. The concept of cruelty differs from person to person... If a wife refuses to consummate the marriage and declares unilaterally that she wants to remain virgin for her entire married life, then it is an extreme sort of mental cruelty upon the husband. If at all she wanted to stay virgin, why did she marry in the first place? Suppression of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome from husband prior to marriage and at the time
of marriage is also one type of cruelty.” 

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
PCOS is an endocrine disorder that occurs in about 5 to 10% of women of reproductive age. It is thought to be a leading cause of female subfertility. Symptoms can include menstrual disorders, infertility and high levels of masculinising hormones.

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