After over thirty years of separation, it started with an unexpected deposit of money in his wife’s bank account. Yet the man, retired from the Army as a Major, would often say: “I am not a man who loses. I won’t lose in court too.” The wife, whom he had left over 30 years ago, was perplexed when the 72-year-old started to put money in her account. Especially because a couple of years ago, he had got a divorce after accusing her of cruelty. She was 63 when a Delhi court passed the decree in March 2013.
How was she cruel? She did not put vermillion in her hair, nor bindi on her forehead — practices every woman who loves her husband must follow, he asserted before the family court.
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The woman appealed to Delhi High Court. And unexpectedly, the man urged the court to set aside the divorce. Recently, Justice Vipin Sanghi allowed a mutual request by the couple to quash the divorce decree. The High Court had preferred mediation after the couple agreed to give truce a chance. The man travelled from Mumbai and the woman, along with her two children, joined the proceedings. She stayed with her children in Noida.
There were at least 10 sittings of the mediation. There was some noise, but the acrimony started to fade. The man had a change of heart. He deposited money in his wife’s account, and got gifts for his children with whom he had not been in touch for decades, said advocate Kawaljit Kochar, counsel for the wife. The son and daughter initially stepped back. But he would look for excuses to talk to them. “He called me to ask his children to speak to him. I could feel his anxiety,” Kochar said.
The mediation began in November 2014, and a compromise was reached in three months. Advocate Vasundhra Singh, who attended most of the proceedings while assisting Kochar, said as the proceedings went on, the retired Major became more and more soft. “He readily agreed to come to Delhi to record his statement before the High Court Registrar, and in May, the compromise got the judicial seal. Every time he came, he brought gifts for his children. When he sold a house in Mumbai, he sent a part of the money for his wife and children,” she said.
And yet, he could not bear to “lose”. “He had served in the Army all his life. So when the compromise was finalised, he told us he did not lose and that he could not lose. We reassured him that he had not lost,” Kochar and Singh said. The lawyers said he never disclosed the reason for the change of heart. “He is not well. He is lonely too and it is the time when a person needs his family the most. Perhaps his age and loneliness can explain his desperate attempts to talk to his children, to look after his wife and have the divorce nullified,” they said.