Based on a mobile recording backed up by the testimony of his 20-year-old son on his mother’s affair, a Charkop resident was granted a divorce from his wife on May 28. The son had surreptitiously made a recording of his mother’s intimate conversations with her lover, which was revealed when he stepped onto the witness stand. Ravi Mane (40) married Sarita Khemkar (35) in 1991 at Parel. The couple then settled in Vakola. The couple has two children, Karan (20) and Vijay (17). They separated in 2003.
Living together in a joint family following marriage gave rise to friction in the family, and she frequently fought with her new family. Ravi’s family urged him to move out with his new wife, so the couple moved to Charkop. A son was born to the couple, but the problems continued. When Sarita threatened to commit suicide a day before Valentine’s Day in 2000, Ravi approached the police. Sarita’s uncle, a police inspector, told his niece to check her behaviour.
While her husband worked in Dubai, Sarita allegedly started seeing her neighbour Michael John. A friend first informed Ravi of his wife’s infidelity. Around the same time, Karan noticed it too. Karan and his younger brother Vijay had spotted their mother riding pillion with John on a motorcycle. Learning about his wife’s liaisons, an anguished Ravi left his job and returned to Mumbai to be with his wife, but it was too late. Sarita avoided him. Placed on the witness stand, Karan testified that he had discussed his mother’s affair with Vijay.
Karan had also made a recording on his mobile of his mother’s intimate conversations with John. It was later transferred to a CD. However, there was nothing to corroborate how the CD was made, apart from Karan’s own testimony. Back in 2001, the police had summoned Sarita and John for questioning after Ravi’s parents lodged a complaint. This added weight to Ravi’s allegation that his wife had been unfaithful.
Delivering his verdict, Judge SA Morey said, “Suspicious behaviour openly talking with another male, moving here and there with a person other than your husband and roaming in front of your child with another, certainly amounts to cruelty... her son is deposing against her. In such circumstances, though adultery is not proved beyond reasonable doubt, in my opinion to establish cruelty there is no need [for this]... the principle of preponderance of probability is applicable.”
(Names of the litigants changed to protect identities)