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Leander Paes, Rhea Pillai fail to resolve dispute

May 08, 2017 17:43 IST

Can't force estranged couple into settlement: SC on Paes, Rhea

Leander Paes

IMAGE: Leander Paes with Rhea Pillai and their daughter Aiyana. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar.

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.

The bench said that after according the parties in-chamber hearing earlier this year, it would not be appropriate for them to hear the matter on merit.

"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.

When the matter was first taken up for hearing this morning, both parties told the bench that they had certain proposals. The court then asked them to exchange it among themselves and posted the matter for hearing later.

In the afternoon, when the matter was again taken up for hearing, counsel for Pillai told the bench that she has asked Paes for a house but he was not agreeable to it.

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.

To this, the bench said it cannot force the parties for settlement and the matter would be now heard on merit

The apex court had earlier asked the couple, who have a daughter out of their live-in relationship, to settle the dispute amicably out of court.

Pillai had approached the apex court for maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act.

Paes had opposed the plea of Pillai saying he was not married to her.

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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