Pardeep Kaur, a Sikh woman who was allegedly forced into a marriage with her boss’s relative upon threat of being fired from her job if she didn’t comply, has won an annulment in B.C. Supreme Court, according to an article in the Surrey Now leader.
The B.C. Supreme Court published Justice Gordon Weatherill’s decision on Monday, January 21st.
According to the decision, Pardeep’s boss suggested she marry his relative, Harpreet Singh Jhamb, who was living in India and whom the boss had sponsored to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident.
The Judged noted that Pardeep’s boss “told the claimant that her employment with the company would be secure only if she accepted this suggestion” and that Kaur had asked him for a day to think about it, “as she was neither willing nor ready for marriage.
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“The following day,” the judge said, “the claimant agreed to marry the respondent under duress, as she did not want to lose her job.”
Eighteen days later, Kaur and Jhamb were married in a civil ceremony attended by some of B.S.S.’s friends and family.
“Immediately after the ceremony, the claimant went home alone,” Weatherill noted. “She has not seen the respondent since. The marriage was not consummated.”
The Judge also noted that “the parties belong to the Sikh religion and are Punjabi by ethnicity. According to the Sikh religion, in addition to a civil marriage ceremony, it is essential that there be a religious ceremony in front of the holy book, Shri Guru Granth Sahib, prior to cohabitation and/or consummation of the marriage. No such religious ceremony took place.”
Kaur was fired from her job soon after the civil ceremony.
“She believes she was fired because she did not go through with the religious ceremony.”
The judge said he had “overwhelming evidence” before him that the civil marriage ceremony was “a sham and was entered into solely for immigration purposes.
“I am satisfied that the claimant did not enter into the agreement to participate in this sham of her own free will but did so because of the threat of losing her job,” Weatherill decided. “I find that she was coerced into marrying the respondent and participated in the civil ceremony under duress.”
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