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NRI wives - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
NRI wives


What’s in news?

NRI cell of the National Commission for Women (NCW) has been flooded with complaints from ‘nowhere brides’ who were abandoned in foreign lands after being subjected to mental and physical abuse.

Key data’s:

  • The Ministry of External Affairs mentioned that, there were 4698 complaints were received from distressed Indian Women deserted by their NRI husbands were addressed in the last three & a half years.
  • Most of the complainants from the state of Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala regarding desertion, domestic violence, harassment, child custody and appeal against foreign courts’ decision on divorce has shot up from 468 in 2015-16 to a record 828 in 2018-19. 
  • There have been so many cases of fraudulent NRI marriages that families must take the utmost caution, adding that all marriages that were seen as transactions were liable to be misused.
  • The Citizen, an independent digital daily newspaper based out of New Delhi, studied 44 such cases of ‘marriage of convenience’ and found that 65 percent of the duplicitous husbands resided in the United States while others had settled mainly in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and not a single NRI had bothered to respond to the legal proceedings and, consequently, none of them had been extradited back to India so far.              

Government’s response:

The following are the supports to such deserted Indian Wives;

  • Providing of Counselling to the affected wives.
  • Impounding and revocation of Indian passport of the husbands – As of now, the government has cancelled 45 NRI’s passsports.
  • Guidance and information to the deserted Indian wives on legal procedures.
  • Information on filing a Judicial case in India & issuing Look Out Circulars.
  • Established an Integrated Nodal Agency to look out the circulars against the erring spouses.
  • MADAD portal was launched in 2015 to provide online consular assistance expeditiously to Indian nationals who are in distress abroad.
  • The guidelines of Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) was revised in 2017 to provide financial and legal assistance to distressed women married to NRI men. The legal and financial assistance were increased to USD4000 / case.
  • The MEA also provides an assistance of USD3000 to deserted women in developed countries and USD2000 in developing countries through Indian missions for filing cases in the local courts or for legal counselling through the NGOs empaneled with Indian missions. 
  • Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019:
    • The bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha but could not be passed till the Lok Sabha was dissolved on June 3 ahead of general elections.  
    • The Bill was introduced in the Upper House in February with the hope of proscribing NRI husbands from using marriage as a tool of exploitation and creating cash by providing higher social control of rights for the deserted woman.  
    • The following are the key provisions of the bill;
      • NRI from among the 30 million living in 120 countries who marries an Indian citizen or a fellow NRI abroad has to compulsorily register the marriage within 30 days or face the prospects of their passports being impounded or even revoked.
      • The Bill also allows courts to attach movable and immovable properties of NRIs who are declared ‘proclaimed offenders’ for failing to appear before law. 

Way forward:

The effective implementation of the Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019 which would offer required relief to all Indian women married to NRIs worldwide as it will provide great protection to Indian citizens married to NRIs and serve as a deterrent to NRIs against harassment of their spouses.


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