Aloke Ray, 40+, is a hot shot globe-trotting international lawyer with White & Case, Singapore. He is the head of the Firm’s International Arbitration practice in Asia His profile on the White & Case website describes him as “a leading dispute resolution practitioner in the Asia Pacific region”.
Dr. Charoo Sekhri, 39+, is a paediatric anesthetist who had worked at renowned hospitals in London.
When the couple met at a dating site, fell in love, got married and had a child, it would’ve been a nice fairy tale.
However, less than 2 years after marriage, the couple is battling at the matrimonial courts in London over the preliminary issue as to whether the London courts at all have jurisdiction over the case.
Apparently, Dr. Charoo Sekhri is anxious that the divorce be decided in London because the payout for the spouse (divorce settlement & alimony) is extremely high. London is apparently known as the “Divorce capital” of the developed World for this reason.
Aloke Ray, being the master litigator that he is, is trying to torpedo Charoo Sekhri’s attempt by arguing that only courts in India or Singapore would have jurisdiction over the marriage and divorce.
If Aloke Ray does succeed in getting a ruling that India has jurisdiction, it would be the best case scenario for him because by the time the litigation matures, both he and Charoo Sekhri will be great grand parents and the money that Charoo will be able to extort from him will be only a pittance.
What makes the case remarkable is that the lovely couple has already spent an incredible fortune of Rs. 9 crore (9,00,000 pounds) over the preliminary litigation.
What makes this episode even more remarkable is that the High Court judge, Mr Justice Holman, says he “begged” the couple not to resort to the “financial suicide”.
Justice Holman decided against Aloke Ray but poured his heart out in the order. “I begged these parties to resolve their differences. I referred to financial suicide. The sustained forensic struggle throughout the hearing was painful to observe.” (Click here to read the full judgement)
Justice Holman was also pained by the foolishness of the couple because while they are collectively worth about £4million, they have already splurged a quarter of that wealth on futile litigation.
Aloke is obviously not thinking straight. If he were to wear his “objective lawyer hat” and advise a client, he would have said “Look Bro, there’s no point in throwing good money after bad. Cut you losses and run. Offer that woman Charu Rs. 5 crore as compensation and negotiate your way upwards. Close the deal by evening“.
Charu also does not realize that by driving Aloke to financial ruin, she’s not helping herself. Even if she wins a hefty settlement from the Court, what is the use if Aloke is broke by then?
We can only hope and pray that Aloke Ray and Charoo Sekhri will heed the sensible advice of Justice Holman and amicably resolve their differences and not continue on their path to “financial suicide”.