NRI banker loses divorce claim in UK court
A British judge has dismissed an NRI investment banker's claim that he did not owe his ex-wife a divorce pay-out as their marriage ceremony in India was never legal.Updated: Mar 03, 2014 21:48 IST
A British judge has dismissed an NRI investment banker's claim that he did not owe his ex-wife a divorce pay-out as their marriage ceremony in India was never legal.
Amit Goyal, a high-earning former UBS banker, had met his wife Ankita on an Indian matrimonial site and married at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh on September 15, 2003.
However, Goyal insists he was "not present at the ceremony" and was in Bathinda while his wife "married another Amit Goyal".
The 36-year-old, therefore, claimed she could neither divorce him, nor claim any financial support, because they were never married in the first place.
However, Judge Mark Everall had granted Ankita a "decree nisi" divorce last year after describing her husband as an "unreliable" witness and ruling that "there was a valid marriage between the couple".
Amit Goyal challenged the ruling at the Court of Appeal in London and pointed to a mysterious thumb print on his marriage certificate and an absence of wedding photos in a bid to prove him a bachelor.
He also told Lord Justice Kitchin that he was 300,000 pounds in debt, despite earning 185,000-a-year pounds plus bonuses before he was made redundant, the 'Daily Telegraph' reported.
But his complaints were thrown out by the judge, who said he had "no prospect" of blocking his 33-year-old wife's divorce petition.
"Standing back and having regard to all the evidence and Judge Everall's reasoning, I do not detect that he had any real difficulty in arriving at his conclusion," Lord Justice Kitchin said dismissing the appeal.
The couple had met on the matrimonial site in 2003 and Goyal agreed to meet his prospective bride back in his homeland.
They became engaged three days after they met and a hastily-arranged wedding was fixed with the consent of Ankita's army officer father in order to speed along her French visa application prior to the couple's flight to Europe.
However, the banker asserted that his wife tied the knot with an imposter at Meerut, claiming that he had been six hours away in his home town in Punjab on the morning of the nuptials.
Goyal said this meant his subsequent "marriage", celebrated with full Indian festivities just three days later, was invalid, though the groom's name on the wedding certificate for the previous ceremony matched his own.
The couple moved to France and then the UK, before their daughter, now six, was born in 2007. But their relationship "irretrievably broke down" and Ankita moved out of their Docklands home in east London in 2011.