Panel proposes strict measures to check NRI-wives' abandonment

India

14 Jun 2018

Harassment of wives: Government-panel proposes strict rules for NRI husbands

An inter-department panel has proposed strict measures to check abandonment of Indian wives by NRIs.

It has been decided that NRI men who marry in the country will mandatorily have to register their marriages within a week.

Their marital status will also have to be updated on their passport.

During January'15-November'17, the MEA received three calls everyday by distressed NRI wives wanting to return.

Cases

Common complaints of Indian women marrying NRI men

Common complaints of Indian women marrying NRI men

The most common complaints against NRI husbands by Indian women pertain to them disappearing after marriage, preventing the wife from coming back to India, abandoning her in a foreign country, or forcefully sending her back and keeping the children there.

In recent years, such cases have increased: there were 3,328 complaints in the three years between January'15 and November'17.

Panel

Some of the panel's recommendations already implemented

To address the issue, the Foreign Ministry set up a panel headed by retired judge Arvind Kumar Goel in May'17.

On its recommendation, the government is setting up a website to track NRI marriages.

The panel also suggested confiscating/cancelling passports of abusive NRI husbands.

To ensure Indian laws are applied in other countries, it proposed including domestic violence in the scope of India's extradition-treaties.

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New rules

The latest changes in laws

The latest changes in laws

Currently, summons are issued after a woman lodges a complaint, but the process often fails as the man moves to a new location, or provides wrong address.

Yesterday, the inter-ministerial panel proposed revocation of passport upon failing to update marital status.

The foreign ministry can now also upload summons issued to NRI men on their website, which will be "deemed to have been served."

Process

Implementation of these proposals will need several amendments

Implementing these measures will need amendments by the law ministry (Registration of Births and Deaths Act), foreign ministry (Passport Act) and home ministry (Code of Criminal Procedure).

"The amendments will then go to the cabinet for approval," an official said.

The panel consisted Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.

Measures

NRI wives: Here's what you can do for help

NRI wives: Here's what you can do for help

In February 2015, the MEA launched a grievance redressal portal called MADAD to handle cases like these.

You can visit any Indian Mission and Post abroad or the MEA's Branch Secretariats in Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Kolkata to lodge a complaint.

You can also do it online by visiting www.madad.gov.in. You will have to register yourself before filing a grievance.

Undecided

Proposal on confiscation of husband's property still under discussion

However, the panel couldn't decide on the recommendation to attach NRI husbands' property in such cases.

Swaraj and Gandhi had suggested that if the man in question doesn't own property, his share of parental property be seized instead.

"Law ministry officials said this proposal isn't legally tenable. The panel has directed them to revisit the proposal and suggest what could be done," said another official.

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Crime Against Women

Marriage Registration

NRI

Women Rights

Arvind Kumar Goel

Branch Secretariats

Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi

Criminal Procedure

Deaths Act

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj

Foreign Ministry

Home Minister Rajnath Singh

India

Indian Mission

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

MADAD

Maneka Gandhi

MEA

Passport Act

Rajnath Singh

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Sushma Swaraj

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