NRI Marriages: Indian Government to help NRI Couples

The issue of Abandoned Brides in NRI marriages gained so much prominence in last few years that it pressurized Government of India to create an Inter-Ministerial Sub-Committee to look into the matter.

On 4th May, 2007  a sub-committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and with representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Ministry of Law & Justice, National Commission for Women, National Human Rights Commission and State Governments of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh as Members to discuss ways and means to assist Indian women who are allegedly deserted by their overseas Indian spouse.

Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs while answering a Question in the Parliament (on 10th December, 2008) disclosed details about recommendations made by this sub-committee, action taken by government on these recommendations, and other steps taken by the Ministry to address the issue.


Here are the recommendations made by the Inter-Ministerial Sub-Committee:

  1. All marriages solemnized in India should be compulsorily registered. Proforma for registration of marriages may be uniform in all states and it should include all relevant information e.g. spouse’s profession,work- place address, passport number, income, actual marital status and social security number, if applicable.
  2. Litigations related to NRI marriages should be taken up on fast track courts through Ministry of Law and Justice and, also, where necessary, by special public prosecutors. Since ‘marriage’ is a state subject, the proposal for appointment of special public prosecutor to handle such cases has to come from the State Governments in consultation with the High Court concerned. However, in cases of Central enactments, such proposals can be made by the Ministry/ Department concerned in consultation with the jurisdictional High Court.
  3. To incorporate suitable provisions on serving of notices, summons, enforcement of maintenance orders with regard to overseas Indian marriages in the mutual legal assistance treaties (MLAT) which are in the pipeline especially, with the countries like USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where problem of desertion of Indian women by overseas Indians is acute.
  4. Whenever there is an ongoing litigation in a foreign court, the Indian bride’s case should not go unrepresented. The existing funding mechanism to such cases may be strengthened by organizing a network of NGOs and NRI legal professionals as volunteers.
  5. A vigorous information campaign may be launched at all levels using the media and NGOs to educate prospective brides and their families to take possible precautions before entering into marriage alliance with overseas Indians.
  6. Information brochure may be prepared by experts having knowledge of Private International Law, regarding the working of the relevant Hague Conventions and also procedures to be followed by the general public regarding serving of notices, summons etc. to parties staying abroad. Thereafter, a media campaign may be launched to make general public aware of the provisions pertaining to serving of summons, notices etc. to accused NRIs in foreign countries.
  7. States/Union Territories should pass on information regarding court orders against accused NRIs to Emigration Authorities to prevent such people from leaving India against these orders.
  8. Suitable instructions may be issued to the police authorities of all the States/ Union Territories to register FIRs in such cases without any delay.
  9. Bilateral agreements may be signed with foreign countries to protect the victims of NRI marriages. Besides other clauses, such agreements should include provisions e.g. (i) divorce order of foreign courts should be effective only when endorsed by a court in India, (ii) decrees granted by Indian courts should be enforceable in foreign countries, (iii) deserted Indian women should be allowed to be present in the foreign country where a divorce petition has been filed against her, and (iv) the concerned foreign government may grant temporary visa for this purpose to the Indian women and should issue instructions to their courts to decide such cases only after requisite visa has been provided to the Indian woman.

Consequent to these recommendations, an Inter-Ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs was held on 7th July, 2008, wherein following decisions were taken:

  1. There was agreement over the sub-committee’s recommendation that all marriages solemnised in India should be compulsorily registered and pro-forma for registration of marriages should be uniform in all states and should contain all relevant information that would help in identifying the persons.  It was further agreed that the pro-forma for registration of marriages should also have columns, in the case of overseas Indians, for the social security number, passport particulars, ID card / labour card etc. to build a proper identification and tracking system. Introduction of a uniform format would need interaction with the State Governments. Ministry of Law and Justice would prepare an appropriate pro-forma and take it up with the State/UT Governments (Action: Ministry of Law and Justice, State/UT Governments)
  2. There was agreement over the sub-committee’s recommendation that:
    • Litigations related to overseas Indian marriages should be taken up by fast track courts. It was felt that instead of building up a new system for these courts, this should be brought within the scope of the existing family courts. (Action: State /UT Governments, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Women and Child Development).
    • Efforts may be made to let the family courts clear the pending cases early and a mechanism may be put in place for regular monitoring of such cases. (Action:State/ UT Governments, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Women and Child Development).
  3. There was agreement over the sub-committee’s recommendation that provisions on serving of notices, summons, enforcement of maintenance orders be made part of the mutual legal assistance treaties (MLAT) especially with USA,UK,Canada,Australia and New Zealand where problem of desertion of Indian women by overseas Indians is acute. (Action: Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs).
  4. There was agreement over the sub-committee’s recommendation that whenever there is an ongoing litigation in a foreign court, the Indian bride’s case should not go unrepresented. MOIA’s Scheme to assist Indian women in defending their cases abroad was appreciated. However, it was felt that the amount being sanctioned per case by MOIA i.e. US $1,000/ was grossly inadequate and should be enhanced substantially. The possibility of creating a flexi-fund may also be explored by pooling of money by Indian Associations. A matching grant from the government could be considered. (Action: Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Missions/Posts abroad).
  5. It was agreed that a vigorous information campaign was necessary at all levels using the media and NGOs to educate prospective brides and their families to take possible precautions before entering into marriage alliance with overseas Indians. The information campaign launched by MOIA was appreciated and it was decided that the campaign needs to be continued. (Action: Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development, National Commission for Women, State/UT Governments).
  6. It was agreed that information brochure may be prepared by experts having knowledge of Private International Law on the working of the relevant Hague Conventions and procedures that is to be followed by the general public regarding serving of notices,summons etc. to parties staying abroad. Thereafter, a campaign may be launched to make the general public as also the concerned officers aware of these provisions. (Action: Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Women and Child Development, National Commission for Women).
  7. There was agreement over the sub-committee’s recommendation that states/Union Territories should pass on information regarding court orders against accused NRIs to Emigration Authorities to prevent such people from leaving India against court orders. (Action: Ministry of Home Affairs, State/UT Governments).
  8. It was agreed that appropriate instructions may be issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the States/Union Territories to ensure that FIRs in such marriage disputes/problems are registered without any delay. (Action: Ministry of Home Affairs, State/UT Governments).
  9. There was agreement over the sub-committee’s recommendation that appropriate bilateral agreements may be considered with foreign countries with a view to protect the interests of Indian women victims of overseas Indian marriages.
  10. On the recommendation made by the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women to evolve a well defined/coordinated mechanism among all the concerned agencies to deal with the issue of problematic NRI marriages and to enable the aggrieved women to get a respectable solution to the problems, it was decided that the National Commission for Women will, henceforth, be the coordinating agency at the national level to receive and process all the complaints related to deserted Indian women by overseas Indians.

The Minister also said that the final decisions taken by the Inter-Ministerial Committee were circulated to concerned Ministries, State Governments and Government agencies for appropriate follow up action.

He also enumerated other steps taken by the Government to mitigate the suffering of women defrauded by NRI husbands:

  • MOIA (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs) launched a scheme to provide legal and financial assistance through Indian Missions abroad to Indian women deserted or divorced by their overseas Indian spouses. Under the scheme, funds have been placed at the disposal of Indian Missions in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and countries in the Gulf which can be released to the Indian Women’s Associations,NGOs etc. empanelled with the Missions for providing legal and counseling services to Indian women victims of NRI marriages.
  • MOIA brought out information pamphlets in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Malayalam and Telugu to make Indian women aware of their rights and responsibilities and precautions that could be exercised before entering into marital alliance with overseas Indians.
  • MOIA brought out a guidance booklet on “Marriages to Overseas Indians” in English, Telugu, Hindi, and Punjabi. This booklet contains information on safeguards available to women deserted by their NRI spouses, legal remedies available, authorities that can be approached for redressal of grievances, and NGOs which can provide assistance.
  • MOIA launched a publicity cum awareness campaign through audio visual advertisement on regional T.V network primarily to cover the States of Punjab, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Source:  Q & A session of 10th December, 2008 in Indian Parliament.

Related Reading

›  State Commissions for Women in India
›  State Human Rights Commissions in India

Comments

  1. Hi
    I am going to marry a girl from Egypt, but the marriage we have planned in India. Please guide me what are all the steps that i have to take. What is the procedure to register for the marriage? We both are Muslim. I am Indian resident, traveling across countries, how can i get a visa for her and how long the visa validity will be?

  2. dr.v.k.agarwal says:

    its v nice effoert of our govt.
    alas here the courts are going opposite this spirit by citing comilty of courts and try to force the aggrieved women to go back to foreign country and fight legal battles there r,rather than deciding here in india for such indians(many cases in recent period by high/supreme courts).its like deporting an indian from india,a violation of the fundamental rights of such indian women and thus blindly favouring the erring husbands on the specious plea that the erring husband 1st abandon the spouse and child back in india and goes back and file child custody case in london high court and lo the court passes interim orders without any notice to the women and also files false habeus corpus case here. in high court simultaneously and our courts go by and appreciate such foreign courts,without going in to merits)
    please provode the emails and ph.nos of all the above mentiones agencies/embassies/ministry etc.
    dr.v.k.agarwal(unfortunate father an aggrieved and suffering young married daughter to nri in u.k.)
    waiting to hear back for guidance

  3. Hi,
    My niece(bhaanji) married an indian,doing job in the us. The marriage was solemnised in india.After marriage when she reached the us ,she was not treated properly.For living about an year there she came to india.after about six months her husband even stopped taking her telephone calls.As soon as one year elapsed of her living herein india her husband sent the divorce papers from the us and started proceedings there.what legal remedies do we have now.Is Does the US government saves him in deporting him if we start any criminal proceeding against him in india. Can his visa be cancelled for this criminal act by the us govt .

  4. dr.v.k.agarwal says:

    ref.16th dec.2009,
    no reply or guidance have been provided to me.
    after all this,in feb.our supreme court ordered my daughter to go to u.k. with her minor child and attend the custody case ,being filed by my son in law a,aviral mittal.
    the court and my daughter accepted the proposal on oath that aviral is iniviting her to the matrimonial house in swindon and will provide all expenses,food,shelter,insurance,medical cover etc.,including legal expenses ,incurred in u.k. and also that he will go under psychitric assessment within 14 days and go for marital counselling but while in u.k. he has filed a divorce petition,within 5 days and is refusing to abide by the supreme court order which were mirrored by london court as well. its a sheer deception,court contempt and all ,will the courts now take suo moto action and provide the legal relief to much harrasse young daughter and her minor girl child.
    is there any or quick justice to provide relief to hapless mother and child and punish such an evil minded husband?,i pray god to awaken the consciousness of the involved judges/courts and be more vigilant before passing such orders to the other sufferers and put them and their life in peril as has been turned out in our case.

  5. dr.v.k.agarwal says:

    will some good smaritan,will provide the ways how my daughter gets protected and live safely till she has to be there and return safely to india please?
    as per london court her and her daughters passports have been held by the lawyers in u.k.under the court direction,thus putting them under virtual house/country arrest.
    will the courts who are above every body else and not accountable for anything wrongs/rights here in motherland,india or our democratic govt. do something,i really wonder?its so unfortunate to be indians,iam sorry to say and say so in deep anguish of a suffering father of suffering daughter.lets not forget almighty god is there and we all have to pay for the wrongs done to others and here you and i or judges or ministers or no body will be spared at the time of reckoning.
    and if for this,some authority/courts wants to punish me,i am more than ready ,ready to suffer more but i wish its a awakening call on the conscious who matter and decide on the lives of others

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