It was business as usual at the sombre courtrooms of the Supreme Court. Justices Kurian Joseph and Mohan M Shantanagoudar had just resolved a seven-year-old marital dispute by settling 23 cases, when a 10-year-old boy rushed towards with a handmade note. The note, a thank you card, was a token of gratitude from the child for resolving the long-pending dispute between his parents.
“This is the rich encomium paid to the Court by…the 10-year-old son of the appellant and respondent. The little one present in Court today is exuberantly happy and sought (the) liberty to present a handmade card expressing his joy on the settlement of all the disputes and litigation between his parents,” Justice Joseph said.
The card reads: “God always has something for you: A KEY for every problem, A LIGHT for every shadow, A RELIEF for every sorrow and A PLAN for every tomorrow.”
While harrowed litigants profusely thanking judges for resolving cases that have run for years are not new to courtrooms, this was a novel experience for the judges, who honoured the gesture making the card a part of their judgment. Justice Joseph said the boy’s parents had been living separately since March 2011 due to marital differences. The couple, who were married in May 1997, had two children, but as their relationship had soured and eventually they took the matter to the court and instituted civil and criminal cases against each other.
The apex court had earlier appointed a mediator to resolve their differences, but the outcome was not fruitful, following which the bench summoned the parties to appear before it personally. Following pro-active intervention by the two judges, the parties finally reached an amicable settlement and decided to divorce by mutual consent. The two parties also gave a quietus to the litigations between them.
Accepting their petition for divorce by mutual consent, the court said, “As we have settled all disputes, we do not think it necessary to relegate them for another litigation before the Family Court. The parties are present before us. Having regard to the background of the litigation and having regard to the long separation between the parties, we are convinced that the parties have taken a conscious decision, uninfluenced by any extraneous factors.” The court said they need not wait for the mandatory six months and dissolved their marriage by a decree of divorce by mutual consent.
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