The former wife of an Indian man has failed in her attempt to have their divorce annulled.
In the recently published case o NP v KRP, the couple were married in India and but the husband divorced her two years later, via a panchayat (village council) ruling in Gujarat. This divorce was subsequently recognised by both the Indian and British authorities. The husband remarried and his new wife was given a visa to enter the UK with him.
But after the first wife failed in an application for leave to remain in the UK, she disputed her divorce, saying she had been forced to sign the divorce documents and had not understood them. She argued that the divorce should no longer be recognised by the English courts, under sections 51 and 55 of the Family Law Act 1986.
But sitting in the Family Division of the High Court, Mrs Justice Parker said there was no evidence that the wife had been acting under any duress. She had publicly participated in the divorce process, which was properly recorded by a registrar and the husband had no reason to believe that she objected, the judge declared.
The man’s first wife had been dishonest about some elements of her evidence and waited as long as two years before objecting to the divorce. It was likely that she had been motivated by her failure to be granted leave to remain in the UK. Additionally, retrospectively removing recognition from the divorce would cause “chaos” in the lives of her former and his new wife, Mrs Justice Parker noted.
She dismissed the wife’s application.