Indian govt comes to rescue of distressed NRI wives

Finally, the Indian government has come down hard on cases of NRI husbands abandoning their wives. Now, the government will collect data of all registered marriages, Indian Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said.

“From now, registration of all marriages will be linked to the women and child development ministry's website. This will be in place by the end of this month,” Gandhi told media persons.

Maneka Gandhi, Indian Minister for Women and Child Development.
Maneka Gandhi, Indian Minister for Women and Child Development. Photo courtesy: logicalindian

Ministry of Women and Child Development, through a series of tweets, informed about the steps being taken to assist women in distress due to NRI marriages.

The announcement follows a report submitted to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in August by an expert panel it constituted on NRI marriages under the chairmanship of retired Justice Arvind Goel, former chairman of the NRI Commission of Punjab. The panel also recommended impounding of passports of NRI husbands accused of harassing and deserting their wives.

It is also learnt that WCD has asked the Law Ministry to make registration of NRI marriages compulsory.

The decision was taken during an inter-ministerial meeting where Sushma Swaraj, Indian Minister of External Affairs, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Indian Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were present besides Gandhi.

WCD will soon be writing to all registrars asking them to furnish data.

A new inter-ministerial nodal body Integrated Nodal Agency (INA) will be set-up under WCD ministry, which will look into the complaints arising out of NRI marriages. The body will have officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Law ministry in attendance.

Maneka Gandhi said, “The step has been taken to make men accountable and to leave no scope for them to get away on the pretext of false promises.”

She added, “It is a problem running into thousands now. Many people are keen on marrying their girls off to NRIs and no due diligence is followed when the marriage takes place.

Sources point out that Indian government is also planning to including compulsory registration of all marriages which will have to pass the test of Parliament.

There were about 1300 cases relating to harassment of NRI wives from the year 2005 to 2012, according to a report commissioned by the National Commission for Women.

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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