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Love 'not necessary for genuine marriage'

THE ABSENCE of passion in an arranged marriage did not necessarily mean the relationship was contrived illegally to gain a Pakistani husband entry to the UK, a High Court judge said yesterday.

While the existence of 'passionate love' between a UK citizen and her foreign husband might help to persuade immigration authorities that the marriage was genuine, the absence of a love match did not of itself indicate, in the context of Muslim society, a 'marriage of convenience'.

Mr Justice Schiemann overruled an immigration appeal tribunal's decision not to allow Iram Iqbal, a 28-year-old shop assistant, to appeal against the Home Office's refusal to give her Pakistani husband, Tanveer, permission to live with her in this country.

Mrs Iqbal, of Battersea, south-west London, is now entitled to a full appeal tribunal hearing. Her husband originally asked to be allowed to join her six years ago and was refused entry in October 1988.

'The six-year wait is indicative of the couple's constancy and the slowness of our immigration and court procedures,' the judge said.

The adjudicator had failed to make clear his reasons for dismissing her appeal. He did not state whether he had taken account of the fact that this was a marriage between cousins in circumstances where such a marriage was traditional.

He gave the impression that he regarded the lack of overt affection as indicating that it was a marriage to secure the husband settlement in the UK. If that was his reasoning, it could be legitimately criticised.

The judge added: 'To draw an analogy with English society at the turn of the century, the fact that an American heiress was so keen to be a duchess that she was prepared to marry an Englishman whom she did not love would not lead one to suppose that the primary purpose of the marriage was for her to obtain admission to the UK. She may have been after his title and he after her money.'