The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Try and work it out, coaxes court

New Delhi, Aug. 30: Karisma Kapoor and her estranged husband Sanjay have 15 days to work out a Bollywood happy ending.

Delhi High Court today gave the celebrity couple time till September 15 to talk and reconcile their differences.

Till that day, the hearing of Delhi-based industrialist Sanjay Kapoor’s petition, seeking to restrain his actor wife from taking their five-month-old daughter Samaira to the US, stands adjourned. Sanjay has alleged that the baby’s passport was made illegally and without his consent.

Karisma had filed an affidavit in reply, alleging “desertion”, attracting media glare on the details of her crumbling marriage. Sanjay, represented by counsel Manali Singhal, had then requested the court to hold the proceedings in camera as it involved a minor child.

Today, top lawyers Mahesh Jethmalani, Arvind Nigam and R. Karanjiwala argued on Karisma’s behalf before Justice Mukul Mudgal while Ashok Desai and A.S. Chandok appeared for Sanjay, who was present in court. The Centre was represented by Kailash Gambhir.

Jethmalani began by arguing for open proceedings but Desai favoured an in-camera hearing, saying excessive media coverage was making it difficult for the parties to hold negotiations.

Jethmalani then said it was a writ petition and not a matrimonial case that was being heard; so, the arguments must focus on legal points relating to the issuance of a passport to Samaira and not stray into personal allegations.

The court then suggested that the two parties talk to each other to sort out their differences amicably in the interest of their daughter.

Desai, representing Sanjay, agreed but Karisma’s lawyers had some reservations at first, since earlier attempts to settle the dispute had not succeeded.

The court, however, prevailed on the two parties and they agreed to hold negotiations. Following this, the judge asked the media to leave the courtroom for some time. The hearing continued in the judge’s chamber.

The court, however, made it clear that the media will not be completely barred from the proceedings, for they have a right to cover the case.

On August 24, Sanjay had told the court that Karisma had walked out of his home with the baby, “unfairly denying me and our daughter each other’s love and affection”.

Replying to Karisma’s charge that he was using their baby as a pawn to settle scores, Sanjay said his wife had “deliberately urged fabricated and false matrimonial issues” to skirt the real one.

He asked to be made Samaira’s “next friend” in the proceedings.

A Delhi police team has been sent to Mumbai to investigate the Rs 50-crore extortion demand Sanjay Kapoor received by email last week.

The Delhi police suspect the involvement of the underworld.

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