City court has granted divorce in a rare case to a couple following a nearly 20-year legal battle between the husband and wife who were together for just 20 days.
While delivering the order, principal judge of family court Dharmesh Sharma observed that the slow pace of the justice delivery system “casts a very sickening feeling in my mind” but added that the parties and their counsel too were perhaps responsible for the delay.
Millions of cases are pending in India’s courts, draining litigants of resources and pointing towards an urgent need for more judges and judicial reforms. Courts too are encouraging such couples to first try mediation instead of getting into lengthy legal fights.
DECISION AFTER 19 YEARS
“Unfortunate as it may look, this case is coming up for final decision after nineteen years of its institution initially before the family court. Most unfortunate aspect of this case is that the parties cohabited hardly for about 20 days before calamity struck the newly married bride, having pernicious repercussions on the mindset of her husband,” said the judge.
“The marriage has irretrievably broken down despite the fact the parties are quite educated and hail from an affluent class of the society, and I only wish they should have settled their differences in an amicable manner instead of suffering the agony of a protracted matrimonial litigation.”
Thirumoorthy Ramakrishnan, 53, and Subhashini Bala Subramanian, 49, got married in 1998 after meeting through a matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper.
WIFE ARRESTED IN CASE OF MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS
However, cops arrested the wife in Ooty when the newlyweds were on their way to visit South Indian temples as part of a custom that says a couple can’t consummate their marriage unless they have taken their blessings at these shrines. She was allegedly involved in a case of misappropriation of funds.
The woman, who was then 29, was brought to Delhi for trial. On the last day of the remand, she told her husband that she was carrying his child. The man moved court, seeking dissolution of marriage on the grounds that following the arrest of his wife, he was interrogated by the police on a number of occasions.
Inquiries were conducted at his workplace and his accounts were checked, causing deep mental and physical cruelty, making him subject of ridicule among his friends, colleagues and relatives, he argued.
The husband also told the court that he learnt later that his wife had hidden her professional qualifications and other important details. He said the incident left him in constant tension, apprehending that he may be called by the police at any time for further investigation and sought divorce on the grounds of “cruelty”.
WOMAN DENIES ALLEGATIONS
The wife though claimed that all the allegations against her were false. She also said the couple had consummated before the completing the religious ritual. The wife did not deny the criminal proceedings initiated against her but said she was being falsely implicated in the case by her employer.
She also said that her husband not only abandoned her at a time when she needed him the most but also abandoned the child born in wedlock and left them to fend for themselves.
The court granted divorce, saying that the arrest, detention and criminal prosecution of the wife, whether innocent or not of the charges, so early into their marriage caused the husband exceptional hardship and was inflicted with intolerable mental cruelty. “Protracted legal battles in our system end up spoiling a person’s life,” Saurabh Chauhan, counsel for the husband, told Mail Today. “A marriage going bad is an accident. It can happen to anyone.
THE STATE OF THE COUPLE NOW
Had the divorce been granted in a year or two, my client could have remarried and have had a family now and led a normal life. He is an old man now and not in a state to marry. Instead of getting relief, the long battles themselves become the problem.”
Mail Today has learnt that the husband has moved abroad and works in a bank while the wife is working as an accountant. Their daughter passed class 12 this year and scored 94 per cent in the board examinations.
Anil Sharma, counsel for the wife, told that they have moved the high court in appeal. “The charges levelled by the husband on my client also amount to cruelty. The husband abandoned the wife and daughter when they required him the most. He also never took care of the daughter’s expenses. The woman has brought up the girl singlehandedly,” he said.