Divorce can be ugly. But for Jagdish Singh, estranged from his wife for 24 years, it has been a 16-year-long legal battle that still shows no signs of ever ending.
A trial court verdict granted Singh divorce in 1999. But in 2004, the Allahabad High Court reversed the order. Singh challenged the high court verdict in the Supreme Court in 2005, hoping to get a favourable order.
But Singh suffered yet another setback on Monday when the Supreme Court remitted the case back to the high court on the grounds that it did not pass a reasoned order. The case will now be up for “fresh disposal” before the high court that will decide the matter in accordance with law, after appreciating the evidence.
A bench headed by Justice C.K. Thakker said: “When the law has conferred the power of re-appreciation of evidence on facts and on law on the first appellate court (Allahabad High Court), it would not be appropriate for this court to undertake that task.”
Asking the high court to record the reasons for passing its judgment, the bench directed it to give priority to Singh’s case. However, it did not fix any timeframe for the high court to decide the case.
Singh’s marriage was solemnized on May 27, 1974 according to Hindu rites and rituals. Within six years of the marriage, the couple had a daughter. In 1984, Singh’s wife left him when the child was just four but filed a case against him, seeking an order to restrain him from marrying a second time.
When Singh’s efforts to bring back his wife failed, he moved the trial court seeking divorce on grounds of desertion and cruelty — his wife even refused to attend their daughter’s wedding, he claimed. While the trial court passed a divorce decree in his favour, the high court reversed it holding that the lower court had erred in relying on the husband’s evidence.