12-year-old matrimonial dispute settled in just 30 minutes!

March 15th, 2009 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

By Kanu Sarda
New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) For Zeenat Sheikh (name changed), the legal battle she was fighting against her husband for 12 years seemed to drag on and on. But Sunday brought her big relief when her case was settled by a Lok Adalat, and that too in just half an hour!

Zeenat, 58, married Ismail Khan, 65, in 1980 and the couple have five children. But after some time the marriage started turning sour and they ended up filing cases against each other. As many as eight cases were pending before different courts in the capital.

But on Sunday, the matrimonial Lok Adalat (People’s Court) organised by the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), solved all the eight cases in just 30 minutes and ordered the husband to pay Rs.300,000 to Zeenat in four months’ time as final settlement.

Lok Adalats are informal courts whose decisions cannot be challenged in any other court. The litigation is free. The matrimonial Lok Adalat Sunday was the second such session. It began on March 1 this year.

Former Registrar General of Delhi High Court B.B. Gupta, who was personally presiding over the matter, told IANS: “To settle a matrimonial dispute there is need of an informal atmosphere so that both the parties can be taken into confidence so that they feel someone is ready to hear their grievances. Giving a patient hearing to these matters helps a lot.”

He added that in the present matter, the dispute was minimal but it dragged for 12 long years just because they were not heard properly.

Another matrimonial case that was decided was of Ruksana. She had married Deen Mohammad in 1993, but they began to fight often. Their dispute reached the court in 2002 and it dragged on for over five years. The case was settled Sunday when the husband agreed to pay Rs.100,000 to the wife and she agreed to take back all the cases against him.

“We have received a very good response from the litigants, especially in matrimonial adalats that are now a regular feature. It has in fact re-written the concept of Lok Adalats in the country,” Sanjay Sharma, projects officer DLSA, told IANS.

“The idea is to offer an informal platform for the settlement of matrimonial disputes and at the same time decongest the courts of such matters. It has been the priority of this authority to settle the disputes between the parties, particularly in matrimonial and family matters, at the pre-litigation stage itself to save the time and money of the parties involved,” Sharma added.

According to data provided by DLSA, 5,426 cases of domestic violence and 7,700 cases of maintenance are pending in the five district courts of the capital.

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