Updated: July 29, 2021 7:44:41 am
A marital discord of 21 years — that saw the husband being convicted and sentenced for dowry harassment — had a happy ending on Wednesday, with help from the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, when a couple from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh appeared before a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Surya Kant, the CJI noticed that the woman was finding it difficult to communicate in English and began interacting with her in Telugu — his mother tongue too.
The woman sought an enhancement of the jail term to her husband, but the CJI told her that this would mean that the man will lose his state government job and will not be in a position to give her maintenance.
The woman then agreed to live with her husband if he promised proper maintenance of the family. She also decided to withdraw her appeal against the High Court decision in their case.
The husband agreed to live with the woman and to withdraw his divorce petition pending before a trial court.
The top court asked the parties to give an undertaking in two weeks stating their willingness to live together.
The husband’s lawyer, D Ramakrishna Reddy, had pointed out before the court that the man had been paying maintenance to the woman and their son without fail for the last two decades.
They were married in 1998, and became parents one year later, before subsequent marital discord and the woman’s criminal complaint against her husband and three family members. The trial court convicted the husband and sentenced him to one year in jail and a fine but acquitted the others. On appeal, the HC upheld the conviction but reduced the jail term to the period already served by him.
The wife then moved the SC seeking enhancement of the jail term. In 2012, the SC referred the matter for mediation but it did not yield any result.
The matter came up before a bench headed by CJI Ramana in February and the court suggested the parties consider a settlement. But a settlement evaded the couple and the case was again listed before the bench headed by CJI Ramana on Tuesday, when the CJI asked the counsel to get both parties to appear before him in person Wednesday through video conferencing so that he could try and counsel them.