The long-drawn legal battle between Rhea Pillai and Leander Paes, which began in 2013, took a new turn as the Bombay High Court admitted Pillai’s revision application against the Session Court’s order. The court will now decide whether Pillai was the wife or concubine of the lawn tennis star.
The socialite was first linked to Paes in 2005 and the pair has a 10-year-old daughter Aiyana Paes. In 2013, however, Pillai filed a domestic violence case against Paes and his father. The Magistrate decided that, although the pair wasn’t married, Pillai was living-in with Paes as his wife, and the case could therefore be heard by the court. Not satisfied with the order of the Magistrate, Paes went to the Sessions Court, which eventually ruled in his favour. Pillai then approached the Bombay High Court in an attempt to challenge the Sessions Court’s order.
In court, Pillai’s lawyer Rumi Mira said that Paes had made an open proclamation in which he referred to Pillai as his wife, according to India Today. Mira added that several documents proved the pair was in a live-in relationship, which was akin to marriage. Paes’ lawyer Abaad Ponda told the court that his client wasn’t opposed to going back to the Magistrate to settle the matter. “Now that it is going against them, they want to go back to the Magistrate Court. I will go into the trial. I don’t mind, but let the case here be admitted,” Mira countered.
The Magistrate Court will be given a time frame to settle the case and it will now be decided, among other things, whether Pillai was Paes’ wife or his concubine – a woman who lives with a man, but does not enjoy the same benefits as a wife would. Pillai first entered the limelight when she tied the knot with Sanjay Dutt in 1998. However, the pair eventually separated and were officially divorced in 2008, by which time she had already begun living with Paes.