A man walked on the road swinging his walking stick, the moment it hit another man’s nose it became a dispute, litigation, compensation etc., this is the first thing we are taught how legal issues came up. Had the man swinging his walking stick not hit anyone no issue would have come up. In a most recent happening in Supreme Court (SC), sitting bench headed by Justices, Kurian Joseph and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, got to witness and mediate dispute amongst couples in an amicable way, because of not only Divorce Petition pending of verdict and there were other issues being contested against each other.  “The SC is continuing its efforts to put quietus to litigations by persuading parties to settle the issues, instead of clinging on with cases against each other” it observed.

Recently Sri. Abhishek Sharma approached the Apex Court seeking transfer of a divorce case filed against him by his wife Kiran, (married in 2010) to New Delhi. Generally, the ground rule is whoever files for petition of Divorce, being estranged from each other, the current domicile address would be needed for the Court to file for such petition. On hearing the transfer petition, the SC referred the matter to Mediation, thinking that the problems could be solved between them amicably during the sessions of Mediation. The Mediator could not solve or make them arrive at a settlement and the report from them was sent back to SC, requesting the courts’ intervention to settle the irreconcilable differences between the couple.

Then both the judges, interacted with both the parties, before whom they expressed their regret for their conduct towards each other. Towards this effect, the sitting bench recorded “The petitioner-husband had submitted that he felt sorry on whatever had gone wrong on his part. The respondent-wife also submitted that she also felt sorry for all that she had done wrong”. On the next hearing, they produced a Deed of Settlement before the Court. In the deed, they had said, “With the intervention of the friends and family members and with appropriate judicial guidance during the hearing of the Transfer Petition, the said parties (both husband and wife) have been able to mutually settle all their differences, disputes, claims, grievances against each other”.

The concerned Husband also agreed to pay an amount of Rs. 5 Crores to the wife, in consideration of the full and final settlement for the Dissolution of the Marriage / Divorce. The sitting bench now observed, “they were happy to note that the parties have cooperated with the suggestions made by the Court and had taken a conscious decision to put an end to their litigation”. Further the bench directed the parties to move a formal application under Section 13B-DIVORCE BY MUTUAL CONSENT, of the Hindu Marriages Act, 1955 for dissolution of Marriage.

It’s commendable to quote, another instance where Justice Kurian Joseph, a few months ago resolved a feud between a mother and her three daughters, fighting for control over business. All that Justice Kurian Joseph did was he provided them a room in the court complex, asking them to sit together and talk it out. When problems arise the concerned parties should sit together and talk about the issues when they are small in nature, rather than the solving the problem, when it’s gone out of hand and bigger in magnitude, that is, when the problems take over solutions, it becomes too difficult to solve and reason out between them.  So, SAY “SORRY” AND BE DONE WITH IT !!

-Vijayashree Ramesh

The writer is an advocate based at Chennai.