Child was born while Rhea was still not divorced from Sanjay Dutt
Last month model Rhea Pillai had accused tennis star Leander Paes of domestic violence. She also demanded Rs. 4 lakh per month from her estranged live-in partner for maintenance of herself and their minor daughter. It worked as fuel to fire in their ongoing legal battle over the custody of the daughter.
Leander Paes had recently publicly defended himself by denying the domestic violence charges. He also claimed that when they entered into a relationship, Rhea was legally married to actor Sanjay Dutt and hence their relationship was "not in the nature of marriage". His lawyers Ishwar Nankani and Mridula Kadam have filed an application in a metropolitan magistrate's court that stated, "In Rhea's case, the child was born during the subsistence of her marriage with Sanjay Dutt. She was married when she entered into a relationship with Leander Paes, knowingly her relationship wouldn't fall within the expression "relationship in the nature of marriage", as is mandated by the Act."
The application also mentioned the fact that Rhea herself has said there was no intimacy between the two after the birth of their daughter. The application said, "This again shows that the relationship was not in the nature of marriage." The magistrate in Bandra has asked Rhea's lawyer, Mrinalini Deshmukh, to give reply to Paes' application. However Deshmukh was not present in court at that time. Rhea Pillai will have to send her reply by August 21, when the matter will again come up in court.
The law says that not just wives but also live-in partners can ask for protection but as per a recent Supreme Court ruling "it has to be a relationship in nature of marriage.'' Leander has now claimed that the relationship between him and Rhea Pillai was not even a true live-in relationship in the proper sense.
Paes is currently abroad for playing. He also questioned the maintainability of the claim made by Rhea Pillai. Paes has said that the couple’s partnership started detoriating when he realized she was incompatible with him. He alleged that she had misrepresented herself till 2005 claiming that she is divorced from Dutt while in reality she got the divorce in 2008. Paes came to know of it in 2013. Rhea Pillai has also complained against her father-in-law. She had accused him of trying to prevent her from entering home. She has also accused them of ill-treatment during a birthday party held at the house.