After a three-decade-long legal battle, a man, who is now 85, finally got divorce with the Delhi High Court Thursday rejecting his wife's appeal challenging a lower court order. The court voiced anguish over the slow process of justice that prevented the couple from starting their lives afresh.
Upholding the decision of the trial court, which granted the divorce to 85-year-old J.M. Kohli in 1994, Justice Kailash Gambhir said it should be the endeavour of the courts to expeditiously decide these matters so that people involved can start their lives anew.
"This is an unfortunate case where the parties have spent more than half of their lives in the alleys of the courts," he said.
Kohli got married to Vimla in 1953 but was forced to leave the house in 1979. He filed a divorce petition in 1982 and the court granted the divorce in 1994.
Challenging the same in the high court, Vimla alleged that she had not been heard by the trial court before granting the divorce.
"The years which should have been spent by the parties to start on a clean slate have been spent with the lawyers and in the court rooms. When parties approach the portals of law for dissolving their matrimony, it should be the endeavour of the courts to expeditiously decide these matters so that parties can get on with carving out their future plans," the judge said.
Justice Gambhir said, "Marriage is a union where the husband and wife spend their entire life building a bond of trust, love and friendship which would be their support during the last years of their lives.
"Having the other spouse by the side at the fag end, to cherish the moments of their times spent together, is an asset which clearly the parties were devoid of in the present case," the court added.
The court accepted Kohli's counsel Geeta Luthra's argument that the wife's greed for property led to the couple splitting ways.
In 1979, when Vimla's brother got a DDA flat in Munirka, she asked Kohli to make all the payments and moved in there with her daughter, the counsel claimed adding, a few months later, Vimla and her daughter forced him to leave the house.
Kohli had, meanwhile, married Usha after being granted divorce by the lower court. The couple has a 10-year-old son. Vimla dragged Kohli into various property declaration suits in the Delhi High Court which last year ruled in Kohli's favour.
"The respondent (Kohli) has successfully proved the ground of desertion. The court does not find any illegality or perversity in the findings arrived at by the learned court below and the same are accordingly upheld," it said.