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It’s not you, It’s your ammi: part deux

The ongoing battle between ‘saus’ and ‘bahow’ (mother in law and daughter in law) is something I’ll probably never get, but this was interesting.


motherin law

Bullying mother-in-law must pay £35,000

Sam Jones
Tuesday July 25, 2006
The Guardian

A woman who subjected her daughter-in-law to a four-month campaign of bullying and humiliation was yesterday ordered to pay her £35,000 in compensation, after a landmark court case.Gina Satvir Singh, 26, used the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act – normally employed to deter noisy neighbours or stalkers – to take her mother-in-law, Dalbir Kaur Bhakar, to court. It is believed to be the first time the act has been used in such a way.

Nottingham county court heard how Ms Singh’s life fell apart four years ago after her arranged marriage to Hardeep Bhakar, now 29. After having left school at 16 and started working in her family’s clothing and fashion businesses, she had risen to a managerial position. By the time of her marriage, Ms Singh had what was described to the court as “considerable experience of the wider world”.But the hearing was told that everything changed when she moved from Bunny in Nottinghamshire to Ilford in Essex, to live with her new husband and his mother at their family home. A devout Sikh who entered into the marriage willingly, Ms Singh said she had accepted she would live with her husband’s family – but her mother-in-law’s campaign of torment led to serious health problems and the breakdown of the marriage in March 2003.She was forced to do menial housework for hours and was kept a virtual prisoner in the house, beginning her domestic duties at 6.30am. Ms Singh told the court her mother-in-law called her a “poodle” and contrived a work routine – including cleaning toilets without a brush – designed to “exhaust and humiliate” her.

Ms Singh claimed that she was not allowed to visit the local Sikh temple, and was allowed only four short visits home to her parents in the weeks after her wedding. She said her telephone use was limited and her calls monitored.

The court also heard that Mrs Bhakar forced her daughter-in-law to have her hair cut to shoulder length, despite knowing her religious beliefs forbade it.

Ms Singh said she was not allowed to register with a local GP, and that a hand infection, the result of the excessive cleaning she was forced to do, went untreated.

Mrs Bhakar, 52, denied the allegations, but her claims of innocence were rejected. Within four months the marriage had fallen apart and Ms Singh had moved out and returned to Nottinghamshire. The couple have since divorced.

Recorder Timothy Scott awarded Ms Singh £35,000 after accepting her claim that she had endured “misery and humiliation”. He said: “She was utterly miserable and wretched during those months and was suffering from what was for her an incomprehensible personal attack.”

After the case, Ms Singh’s solicitor, John Rosley, said: “This case has exposed a problem that is common but not often talked about. This very difficult case was brought by a brave young woman who is now rebuilding her life.

“There must be many who could bring such a case but do not. My client has had the strength to do so only due to the support of her family and her faith. She did so for all young women in a similar situation.

“We now hope that the publicity generated by this successful action will persuade other women who have suffered similarly to come forward.”

Mrs Bhakar’s barrister, Colin Anderson, said that she and her family were “disappointed” and were planning to appeal against the level of damages.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 covers a variety of behaviours, including religious or racially motivated harassment. It can also be used to prosecute people who play loud music or carry out noisy house repairs, if their behaviour is considered to amount to harassment.

A person can be convicted of criminal harassment if it is proved that they knowingly pursued a course of conduct which resulted in the harassment of another individual.


July 28, 2006 - Posted by | RandomDesi


  1. do you have a shirt that says this?

    Comment by rabia | September 11, 2006 | Reply

  2. ewe cleaning toilets is a nasty job….but without a brush? she could’ve gotten more money from this mother-in-law from he**!

    Comment by Saba | September 28, 2006 | Reply

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