Ten years and 18 cases to end NRI doctor couple's marriage that lasted six months

Updated: Dec 13, 2018, 11:24 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

The matter was resolved after Supreme Court's intervention; parties reached settlement through court-assisted mediation and conciliation; apex court also disposed of all their cases pending before Kerala High Court and lower courts

All the cases pending before the High Court, Kerala; the family court, Tiruvalla and before Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvalla, were disposed of
All the cases pending before the High Court, Kerala; the family court, Tiruvalla and before Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvalla, were disposed of

An NRI doctor couple's marriage lasted a little over six months, but it took them 10 years and 18 legal cases to finally part ways. The matter wouldn't have ended if the Supreme Court had not intervened recently. It was resolved through court-assisted mediation and conciliation, and the parties finally reached a settlement. The apex court has disposed of all the couple's cases pending before the Kerala High Court and lower courts to pave the way for mutual separation.

Speaking to mid-day, Advocate Vipin Nair, who appeared for the petitioner/husband in the Supreme Court said, "Former Supreme Court Justice Kurian Joseph had recently emphasised the importance of the concept of court-assisted mediation in finding amicable solutions to complex matters, including matrimonial cases."

He added, "All it took was judges with some compassion, aided by lawyers on both sides to end the troubled marriage, and also to give a secure future to the 10-year-old child of the couple."

The Order
The apex court's Justices Kurian Joseph (he passed this order few days before his retirement) and Hemant Gupta in their order (a copy is with mid-day) stated that they successfully experimented with a new method of settlement, namely court-assisted mediation and conciliation.

The appellant/s approached the court aggrieved by the Kerala High Court's order dated March 29, 2017, in a matrimonial appeal filed before it in the year 2015. The apex court in its order stated, "Finding there is an element of settlement, the court directed the parties for mediation, which was unsuccessful. The court even directed the parties to appear before them, and post long interactions, the matter was discussed on the monetary settlement, which still had some disputes."

The court then sought the assistance of V Shekar, a senior counsel, who could successfully mediate on the remaining disputes and the parties finally reached the settlement.

The settlement
The parties filed an application under the Divorce Act, and took a conscious decision to part. Their application was allowed under the Act and the marriage dissolved by a decree of divorce by mutual consent.

The apex court, in its order further stated that the amount of Rs 1.25 crore paid by the husband to the wife by way of permanent alimony, shall not be treated as income for the purpose of income tax.

Directives were given to the passport officer concerned to process the application filed by the mother for the child (His passport was impounded, as the authorities learnt that his mother had submitted forged papers to obtain it. As both parents were settled abroad, the son was studying in a residential school in Kerala, where his grandparents live).

The apex court directed passport officials not to reject the application on grounds of the pending litigation, since the parties have settled all the disputes. The apex court also directed Regional Passport Officer, Thiruvananthapuram, to refund R1 lakh deposit taken from the mother.

All the cases pending before the High Court, Kerala; the family court, Tiruvalla and before Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvalla, were disposed of. All criminal cases pending before High Court, Kerala, and lower courts were quashed. Also proceedings initiated under the Indian Passport Act were to be dropped and the apex court finally disposed the application.

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