Start with a quote : “Divorce is a game played by lawyers”. -Cary Grant
I don’t agree with the quotation mentioned above. The reason of my disagreement is not that I am a lawyer by profession but a complex case which I am sharing herein. I hope that It will give a good insight in litigation of a divorce case. It may be helpful to law students and laymen as well. Identity and timings are changed for the sake of confidentiality. Any match to any case is just coincident. People is not important at all. The learning of a case is important for society.
This case is about a boy and a girl who married happily and enjoyed the marriage life for six years before they entered in the world of litigation. They had a love marriage. Love was not just a ‘love at first sight’, rather it was a love and probably live- in for six years and thereafter arranged marriage. Lady, hereinafter called ‘wife’ was educated in computers and was running a computer institute. The boy, hereinafter called ‘husband’ was a business man and running private equity holder company. Their love, as is say, lasted for six years and then marriage and then married life lasted for another six years. No kids. No liabilities. Everything was fine till the one fine day when dispute arose on pinpointing each other on a small issue. Small issue turned to ISSUES…BIG ISSUES. Issues started growing and then turned to suspicion. Suspicion turned to allegations. Allegations turned to heated arguments. Heated arguments lead to threatening and which lead to the forced expulsion of wife from Husband’s home. Wife was virtually thrown out of house while withholding all the earnings, investments, ornaments, property shares. She was just thrown out with a threat to keep herself from any legal action otherwise be ready for consequence and asked her to arrange a huge sum if she want to return. She was legally not aware and having no idea of what to do. It was passed twelve years with a man whom she relied and trusted the most in the world, he was her husband. She saw the laughing face of her husband on her pain. She felt cheated, betrayed but now, all these words seems to be meaningless.
Afterwards, She returned to her parental home. Parents are parents after all. The happily accepted and supported her. One fine day, She received a family court summons, intimating her about a divorce petition filed before family court under section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act filed by her husband. Stunned and hurt…but accepted the to face the legal battle. She approached for legal help but can’t afford the fees. She fought the case herself with the help of her guide, we can better say her legal guide. Then trial begins in Family case. She learned the fundamentals of law and started gathering information and knowledge from anywhere and everywhere she could gather. Futhermore, Husband denied any alimony/ ornaments/ clothe/valuable which she was entitle legally.
First provision she learned was section 13 of Hindu marriage Act, 1955. The basis of divorce. There are thirteen grounds given which can be basis of the divorce among Hindu couple. The most common ground “Cruelty” was taken in this case. “Cruelty”. Includes the physical, emotional and mental. Wife wanted to live with Husband so for that she had filed case of restitution under section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act. Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act has a provision of “Restitution of conjugal rights” which means that husband or wife can not live separately without any reasonable cause. So second case filed in the matter.
Since wife was not an earning member so she didn’t had sufficient income to meet out expenses during the pendency of the case so she filed a separate application under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage act (HM Act in Short) before family court. Section 24 of HM Act has provision for pendelite expense and court has ordered 3,000/- on the application. It was the third case in this matter.
As stated above the wife was asked by her husband to arrange a huge sum of money if she wanted to return the home. This type of demand falls under category of “Dowry” and it is prohibited under law. She filed a police report under section 498 A of Indian Penal Code (IPC in short) . Section 498 A of IPC has provision of punishment for husband and their relatives for cruelty and demand of dowry. Police registered the case and put up before magistrate.This was the forth case in this matter.
During these proceeding, the husband’s sister and brother-in-law has threatened her on the phone to withdraw the cases against her else she would have to face consequences. When it became unbearable then she filed a police report and police has registered a fresh case under 503 IPC. Section 503 IPC had a provision for criminal intimidation which is commonly known as ‘Threatens”. It was the fifth case in the matter.
The adamant husband has sent few obscene SMSes to her to tease and give a mental agony. She approached the police but police denied to register any case. Aggrieved by this she filed a private petition under section IPC 354. IPC 354 has provision for punishment for offense against assault or criminal force to outrage of modesty of a woman. Private petition can be filed under 200 Cr.P.C. Magistrate has order for police inquiry in the matter under section 156 Cr. P.C. On the basis of police report the case of registered and trial begin. It was the sixth case in the same matter.
During the marriage she and her husband together had purchased a flat with joint earnings but her husband and his family was residing in the flat and enjoying it. However, the 50% of sale price was paid by her bank account but registry was done only on the name of her husband. That was the situation when both were living in love. Now, during litigation, the husband denied her to live in the home and thrown out of flat. So, she filed a suite of title declaration and possession for the flat as half of the sale price was paid from her bank account and she is equal owner of the property being actual buyer. This was the seventh case begin in the matter.
There was a bank fix deposit receipts on joint name of husband and wife. Which had a condition that it can be encash on the name of ‘either or survivor’. Wife gave instructions to the bank not to encash the FDR due to on going litigation but bank released the payment upon request made by husband with connivance of bank officials. She got nothing out of her Joint FDR. Bank didn’t respond to her request. A consumer case was filed and police report made against erring bank officials. This was the eighth case begin in the matter
She filed a fresh case under section 125 Cr.P.C. for maintenance. Section 125 Cr.P.C has provision for payment of maintenance by husband to her wife in case she has not any adequate means to meet out expenses. She got relief from magisterial court and she got monthly maintenance of Rs. 1000/- .. This was ninth case in the matter.
There are few other cases filed meanwhile which we have removed to control the length of this article. After long legal battle, husband understood the seriousness of situation. Late but not the least.
Finally, the long legal battle of nine years both the husband and wife arrived to settlement. Wife, though in the stronger legal position, left much of her claim and given consent for settlement halfheartedly. and she got satisfactory alimony. Husband filed one case on wife and he attracted the nine or more counter cases. It is apparent that lady struggled a lot to reach out justice. Finally, law has helped her a lot to reach the desired results.
I salute to the courage of the lady. It was her courage in divorce case which lead her to get hold of what was her since the beginning of the first case. Such courage is rare to find out. I can say that we should educate our daughters and give them strength of legal education so that they can stand firmly in the storm of life. So, Divorce is not the game played by lawyers, on the contrary, it is instrument for relief and justice where lawyers assist to aggrieved one.