Passports of NRIs can get cancelled if they desert wives

Finally, there is a ray of hope for women facing harassment or desertion from their NRI husbands as the latter’s passports might get impounded or cancelled if the Central government accepts the recommendation of a high-level panel.

The panel has recommended a special provision to impound or cancel the passport of offending NRIs based on the wife's complaint, reported Hindustan Times (HT).

The nine-member panel is being headed by retired judge Arvind Kumar Goel (who is also the former chairman of Punjab’s State Commission for NRIs). It has also recommended that cases of domestic violence be included in the scope of extradition treaties that India inks with other countries.

Passports of NRIs can get cancelled if they desert wives
Passports of NRIs can get cancelled if they desert wives. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

“Once the passport is impounded, the NRI husband - if present in India - won't be able to leave the country until the case is settled. If abroad, he will have to be deported to India," said a source who has seen the report to HT.

This will facilitate extradition of NRI spouses to India for trial. At present, when it comes to desertion, domestic violence or dowry harassment cases, it is next to impossible to get the man to return for facing legal proceedings.

Also read: Rule change required to Aadhaar registration to connect NRI marriages : UIDAI

“The government is likely to accept these recommendations,” says officials in the Union women and child development (WCD) ministry, which is coordinating with the MEA on the issue.

Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi have vociferously taken up the cause of Indian wives deserted by NRI men and have also spoken on public platforms.

Also read: Will take steps to tackle issue of NRI men deserting their wives: Sushma Swaraj

The panel has also given recommendation to increase the financial assistance given to such women from USD3000 to USD6000. The money is meant to provide assistance to the hapless ladies to avail counselling and legal services in foreign land.

Notably, there were 346 complaints from women married to NRIs in 2014 recorded by National Commission for Women (NCW). The complaints pertained to mostly about men preventing their wives from travelling by confiscating their passports; disappearing after marrying women in India; abandoning them in foreign countries; forcibly keeping children abroad with no contact with the mother; etc. However, WCD ministry officials say even this figure does not reflect the actual picture because women who come forward to lodge complaints are few.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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