Is it fair to divorce a partner because she has epilepsy?
Q: I would like to know if a person has epilepsy, can she live happily with her husband? Is there any such case study? Please help me as my sister has epilepsy and she has got separated because of this from her husband?
A:There is no medical reason for people with epilepsy to remain unmarried. Persons with well-controlled or infrequent seizures have no serious problems in developing and maintaining a stable, intimate relationship while this may be difficult for persons with uncontrolled seizures. All persons with epilepsy sooner or later face important questions like: Do I tell this person that I have epilepsy or when should I tell or how much should I tell? The person with epilepsy should be honest in telling the truth about the disorder and how he or she has been affected by it. The other person should be allowed to react to what he or she has heard. As per the Marriage Law Amendment Act (1976) promulgated by the Government of India, a person subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy cannot have a legally valid marriage and such a marriage can be declared null and void. Repeated petitions to the Government of India by the Indian Epilepsy Association since 1986 were unsuccessful, hence the Indian Epilepsy Association filed a public interest litigation before the Supreme Court of India. The Government of India amended the above-mentioned law of 1976 in 1999, and on 29 December 1999, the Marriage Law Amendment Act 1999 was enacted. With this, legal rights in marriage have been restored to people with epilepsy. Anti-epileptic drugs can cause birth defects and epilepsy, its treatment, and associated disorders may affect fertility and reproduction. It is desirable that the marital partner of a person with epilepsy has a full understanding of the medical condition prior to marriage, to prevent legal battles after marriage.