Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court, in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

A Sikh woman who says she was forced into a sham marriage with her boss’s relative upon threat of being fired from her job as a hairdresser if she didn’t comply has won an annulment in B.C. Supreme Court.

Justice Gordon Weatherill presided over the case, Kaur v. Jhamb, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

He outlined the “uncontroverted evidence” that was presented in court in his reasons for decision, published Monday, Jan. 21.

The court heard the claimant, Pardeep Kaur, began working on Aug. 1, 2018 as a full-time hairdresser with a company identified only as BPL, owned and operated by a man identified only as B.S.S.

Her boss, B.S.S., suggested she marry his relative, identified as respondent Harpreet Singh Jhamb, who was living in India and whom B.S.S. subsequently sponsored to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident.

Weatherill noted that B.S.S. “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.

“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 court heard the parties involved are Sikh, and Punjabi. According to their religion, beside a civil wedding there must also be a religious one before their holy book, Shri Guru Granth Sahib, prior to cohabitation and/or consummation of the union, but in this case no such ceremony took place.

Kaur was fired from her job shortly after the civil ceremony, Weatherill said.

“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.”

READ ALSO: South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

READ ALSO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying with taxpayers’ money

READ ALSO: High court ruling allows long-term expats to vote in byelections across Canada



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Heartfelt memories of Derek Descoteau four years later

Victim of Chemainus murder and his brother leave a huge impact on a large group of friends

Ladysmith PRC restarts registered programming June 1

The programming will feature a mix of live Zoom classes, and outdoor in-person classes

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

The Hilton family pledged $50,000 toward a matched fund. If fully matched, it will raise $100,000

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

South Island Prosperity Partnership funds study looking at local meat processing

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read