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After 60 yrs of wedlock 89- year- old seeks divorce.

Warrant issued after wife says he didn't pay alimony

IT IS the sixtieth year of their marriage. But instead of celebrating it with joy, 89- year- old ' Simpson' Kannan and his 80- year- old wife Rajalakshmi are doing the rounds of the court, trying to get a divorce.

And now, Kannan finds himself in the dock, with the court having issued an arrest warrant against him for contempt on a petition filed by his wife.

Kannan's legal's woes started in 2003. He sought restoration of conjugal rights with his estranged wife. But instead of solving matters, things turned worse.

A former employee of Simpson & Co in Chennai, Kannan married Rajalakshmi in 1949. Kannan and his wife, who live in suburban Villivakkam, have four sons and two daughters.

An active trade unionist, he had served as the secretary of the Indian National Trade Union Congress unit at Simpson & Co under the leadership of former President R. Venkataraman.

" Rajalakshmi and I were blood relations. Our marriage ceremony was a grand one," the octogenarian said. They lived a happy life until his retirement.

That is when problems started cropping up. Failure of a business he launched with his sons added fuel to the fire.

Kannan said Rajalakshmi decided to stay with her sons, abandoning him.

" I was twice kept in the police lock- up following complaints from my wife. The police, too, sided with her," he alleged.

Kannan then filed a petition in the family court in 2003 seeking to be re- united with his wife. But Rajalakshmi claimed that her husband had left her to her means. Instead, she sought maintenance from him.

" My husband has deserted me and is living separately. He has to provide me maintenance," she claimed.

Kannan's only source of income was Rs 5,000 collected as rent from tenants. Taking this into consideration, the court asked him to pay Rajalakshmi Rs 1,500 every year.

Kannan appealed against this verdict in the high court, but his appeal was rejected. Two months ago, a snubbed Kannan filed for divorce. But this has only complicated matters.

As a counter to the divorce petition, Rajalakshmi filed a contempt case against her husband, claiming that he had not paid the maintenance decreed by the court even once.

Now, the sum has accumulated to Rs 40,000.

Since Kannan failed to respond to the summons of the court, judge Narayanasamy, who was hearing the petition, issued an arrest warrant against him this week.

Interestingly, the couple live in the same house with their sons, but Kannan confined himself to a single room. Now, his sons have driven away the tenants and occupied the entire house.

" Kannan has been deprived of his only source of income. Further, a portion of the house was demolished for a highway project," said advocate Murali, who represented him in the high court. " We are examining other legal options," he added.

Kannan had initially decided to fight his case without the help of any advocate, but after finding himself entangled in the case, he approached Murali.

" He can't pay me much. He gives me only Rs 500 for each hearing," the lawyer said.

The legal quicksand Kannan got himself into just doesn't seem to end. He has filed a criminal petition in a Chennai court to evict his sons, who have forcibly occupied his house.

" I won't give an inch of my property to my sons. But, I'll leave the estate for my grandsons," he said.

Last August, a 70- year- old woman had sought divorce from her husband of 53 years on grounds of cruelty and adultery.

A Delhi court granted her divorce soon after.

mc. rajan@ mailtoday. in

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 6, 2009
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