A week after former model Rhea Pillai claimed that she and Leander Paes are married, yesterday she told the court that it was their mutual decision to not have a registered marriage.
She said this during a hearing at the Bandra magistrate court, where she had filed a domestic violence case against Paes. During cross-examination, Paes' lawyer Aabad Ponda asked whether it was a planned wedding or on the spur of the moment.
Pillai replied, "The decision to get married in 2008 by renewing our vows was taken a few days prior to the marriage."
Pillai told the court that none of her friends had attended the wedding, but when they picked up the couple outside the temple, they saw them wearing garlands. Pillai said her friend Veena Malani picked her up after the wedding, as they had planned to go for lunch.
Ponda asked whether Pillai had any document to prove that she had married Paes in 2008. Pillai told court that she had no messages or emails to show that she informed her friends or any other person prior to or after the marriage took place. All she did was inform her friends through a call. She also said that she did not share the news on social media because she was not sure whether she had an account on Twitter or Facebook, and also because it was a personal matter.
Ponda said that Pillai mentioned her marriage with Paes for the first time in September 2017, when she filed her affidavit in evidence. It was never mentioned in any document before that. On being asked yet again whether she and Paes were married, Pillai retorted: "I will bring the priest to show that I married Leander."
Pillai said, "Paes did his duty by having a Gandharva wedding, and it was enough. He also followed it up by mentioning me as his spouse in his passport and other documents. I was given an honorary membership of CCI Club as Rhea Pillai Paes, as well as at two other clubs. In my daughter's school too, we are listed as Mr and Mrs Paes."
Pillai said that she had informed her lawyer that she was married twice as per Hindu Gandharva customs in 2005 and 2008. But, the lawyer told her that she had no documents to prove this, so it was termed as a live-in relationship.
Pillai was accompanied by family court lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh and Amna Usman from the chambers of Mr Mahesh Jethmalani. Paes was represented by Ponda and Ishwar Nankani.
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