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Court finds Leander Paes guilty of 'domestic violence' against Rhea Pillai; orders relief

Tennis ace Leander Paes is found guilty of 'emotional and economic violence' by former partner, Rhea Pillai in a court case from 2014. Paes has been ordered to provide monetary relief.

Leander Paes Rhea Pillai Court case domestic abuse

Leander Paes with former partner, Rhea Pillai (Source: Twitter)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 26 Feb 2022 4:52 AM GMT

A metropolitan magistrate court in Mumbai has finally arrived at a verdict in the long-standing case made by model-actress Rhea Pillai on charges of domestic violence and abuse against 18-time Grand Slam champion Leander Paes. Finding the ace tennis player guilty on the charges made by Pillai, the court has ordered Paes to pay Rhea a monthly rent of Rs. 50,000 as well as monthly maintenance of Rs. 1 lakh, should Rhea choose to move out of their shared residence in Mumbai.

The court's offer is conditional on the basis that Rhea has to choose between staying in the shared residence and getting the monthly rent of Rs. 50,000 or moving out and receiving the maintenance amount instead. The court said that with Paes' career in tennis 'almost over', it would cause 'serious prejudice' to order him to live in a rented home while also paying maintenance to Pillai.

Additionally, Paes has been instructed to take care of the legal costs of this case, which is also estimated at around Rs. 1 lakh, while continuing to pay expenses of maintenance, education and other necessities of their daughter, Aiyana Paes.

Originally, Rhea Pillai had lodged the case against Paes in 2014 but the court took 7 years before arriving at a conclusion, through lawyers Mahesh Jethmalani and Amna Usman, who had filed proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act, naming Paes and his father Vace Paes as the respondents.

Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai were in a relationship since 2003 but they started living in from 2005-06 and even had a daughter Aiyana as well. After that the couple had shifted to Bandra and Paes' father, Vece had also moved in with them, causing differences to spike among them. At first, Paes had filed an application before the Family Court in Bandra seeking custody of his daughter. Following this, Pillai filed a plea in the court under the Act in 2014, alleging that she was subjected to domestic violence by Paes.

Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai with daughter Aiyana

"Considering the facts admitted by the Respondent (Paes)…it can be said that the Applicant (Pillai) succeeded in proving all allegations constituting emotional and economic violence and then burden shifts on the shoulders of Respondent to prove counter i.e. his stance/defence. But if we perused either cross-examination of the Applicant from his side or his evidence affidavit there is nothing in it, on the basis of which it cannot be said that Respondent succeeded in proving his defence," Metropolitan Magistrate Komalsing Rajput relayed in the court order, that found Leander Paes guilty of the allegations lodged by his former partner.

Furthermore, the court took into account that Pillai, who was also married to actor Sanjay Dutt, comes from a 'sound background', has a home and two companies while Leander Paes, represented by his lawyers George Cheriyan and Uttam Cheriyan, continues to live in a rented space.

"Respondent possesses no house. They are residing outside in a rented house. His career as tennis player is almost over. He is also bearing all the expenses of daughter. If such a situation is allowed to continue, it will definitely cause serious prejudice to the respondent. It cannot be ordered that Respondent shall remain outside by depriving himself of every resources and only pay the maintenance to the Applicant," stated the court while directing Pillai to move out of shared residence, stating that it was balancing the rights of both parties in that way.

Currently, Leander Paes, as per his social media, is involved with Kim Sharma and the duo can be spotted together in several events and gatherings together. On the other hand, Rhea Pillai was married twice before she began her relationship with Paes in 2003. Pillai's first relationship was with Michael Vaz from 1984-94 and then Sanjay Dutt in 1998, although the duo separated soon after but the divorce was finalised only much later in 2008.

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