Around 5,298 complaints have been registered against NRI spouses by their wives since the year 2016. In the list of complaints, which are primarily for harassment and abandonment, the top places are occupied by the states Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka. The complaints are mainly to ascertain whereabouts of NRI spouses, request for extradition, the deportation of the spouse to India, request for maintenance, support, divorce or child custody and request for legal and financial assistance to file a case against the NRI spouse.

Key Takeaways:

  • 5,298 complaints have been registered against NRIs by their wives since the year 2016 pertaining to issues like abandonment, harassment, cheating, domestic violence by their spouses residing abroad.
  • Most of the complaints are lodged to ascertain whereabouts of NRI spouses, request for extradition, the deportation of the spouse to India, request for maintenance, support, divorce or child custody and request for legal and financial assistance to file a case against the NRI spouse.
  • The majority of these NRIs are in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
  • These complaints have been considered until 31 October 2019. The year 2016 had the highest number of complaints at 1,510 while it marginally declined to 1,498 the next year and further to 1,299 in 2018.

Punjab Has The Highest Number Of Complaints

Punjab has the highest number of complaints with 763 such cases. This figure is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 501 cases and Maharashtra with 468 cases. Delhi, Rajasthan and Karnataka were the next in the list with 436, 371, and 341 cases respectively. Four north-eastern states – Sikkim, Manipur Mizoram, and Nagaland – had zero such cases whereas Meghalaya and Tripura have one case each.

Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019

The figures highlighting the number of complaints against NRI husbands by their wives was presented in the parliament by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs last week. The report was presented with respect to the Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill 2019, which was first tabled in February 2019. “The Bill seeks to make it mandatory the registration of marriage of an NRI within 30 days, provide provisions for impound passport of the NRI if he refuses to register the marriage and issue summons,” Deccan Herald reported. The bill also seeks to locate the NRI in question so that justice can be served. Registration of marriage helps collect documents related to travel, etc., which can further help in bringing him back to India, which at present is a challenge.

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Integrated Nodal Agency To Help Women

An Integrated Nodal Agency (INA) has been set up to find out and help tackle the problems of the affected women. The agency held 16 meetings but could issue only eight Look Out Circulars. The Ministry of External Affairs, on the low number of LOCs, said that the absence of passport details of the accused NRIs plays a vital role in the inefficiency in question.

In July 2019, while speaking on this issue in Lok Sabha, Minister of External Affairs, V Muralidharan had said, “The amount of legal and financial assistance to distressed Indian women has been increased to USD 4000 per case. The assistance is released to the impaneled legal counsel of the applicant or Indian community association or women’s organization or NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case. So far, the INA has had 15 sittings and has issued eight Lookout Circulars against the erring spouses. It was felt that these measures are not sufficient and the existing laws need to be amended to provide a more effective solution to the problem. Therefore, a bill titled ‘The Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019’ was introduced in Rajya Sabha on February 11, 2019.”

Picture Credit- Alamy

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