The Supreme Court, on Monday, said it cannot force ace tennis player Leander Paes and his estranged live-in partner Rhea Pillai to arrive at a settlement in a maintenance case, even after having accorded them in-chamber hearing.
Favouring that another bench should hear the matter, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy made the observation after Paes and Pillai insisted that no settlement was possible among them.
“We can’t force the parties for a settlement. It is not possible to say anything at this stage. We tried our best to persuade the parties while hearing them in-chamber,” the bench said.
“It will be better if another bench hears this matter as we have accorded in-chamber hearing to the parties. List the matter before another bench on July 18,” the bench said.
Paes’ lawyer said Pillai had already got a house from Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (her former husband) and the tennis star was not ready for another such demand. “He (Paes) is not agreeable to anything. Niether does he want to give anything, nor does he want to pay money”, Pillai’s counsel said. To this, the bench said it cannot force the parties for settlement and the matter would now be heard on merit.
“If both sides are not ready to settle it amongst themselves, then we have to consider many things. The problem is that we cannot force a settlement. It has to be voluntary. Let the matter now go before a new bench as we had been pushing for mediation and propriety demands new judges hear the matter”, a bench of justices Arun Mishra and Amitav Roy said.
Paes’s counsel on other hand said that Pillai has already got a house from Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (her former husband) and the tennis star was not ready for such a demand.
“He (Paes) is not agreeable to anything. He doesn’t want to give anything. He doesn’t want to pay money,” Pillai’s counsel said.
On January 18 also the court had asked the couple who have been fighting a legal battle for three years over their matrimonial dispute to resolve the issue amicably and try for an out-of-court settlement and sent them for mediation.
The couple have been locked in a legal battle over maintenance and custody of their 11-year-old daughter since 2014, when Pillai filed a case of domestic violence and harassment against Paes and his father.
Pillai had challenged a Bombay High Court order by which it had refused to grant any relief in the dispute.
The High Court had also asked the couple to sit down together and work out an amicable solution. However, they had failed to arrive at a settlement.
After getting divorce from actor Sanjay Dutt, Pillai had moved in with Paes and was in a live-in relationship.
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