The Punjab and Haryana high court has decided to set up NRI (Non Resident Indian) courts at magisterial and appellate level at Jalandhar following a proposal mooted by Punjab’s state commission for NRIs.
Having completed two years, Punjab government had set up the NRI commission for resolving problems of Punjabis settled abroad and providing legal assistance to them.
“So far the commission has disposed 60% complaints of NRIs that came for redressal,” justice Arvind Kumar (retd) chairman of the commission, said.
Of the total 443 complaints the commission had received, 230 pertained to property disputes, while 81 related to matrimonial.
As per the commission, even the builders have been duping NRIs and the commission was flooded with complaints of different dimensions like mutations and entries in the revenue records; encroachment of the land of NRIs; land grabbing by the land-mafia in collusion with local people; land-purchase frauds with NRIs and fraudulent sales of the land of NRIs by way of impersonations.
The commission has proposed that there should be an executive officer from Punjab Civil Service to deal with revenues matters of NRIs, while tehsildar should have the powers for partition of land of NRIs and revenue authorities should be given powers to cancel fraudulent sale deed as in civil courts it takes a very long time.
A large number of complaints, commission said, received from NRIs were regarding their investments in various banks, including multi-national institutions.
Justice Kumar stated that many complaints have been filed by women aggrieved from marriages with NRIs, who are being dubbed as “honeymoon brides” and “nowhere brides”.
The commission has pointed out that a large number of unregistered travel agents operating in Punjab are a major source of human trafficking. The number of youth getting into the clutches of travel agents is astronomical with many illegal migrants either being detained abroad or deported. Justice Kumar said that the commission had earlier suggested to the Punjab government to finalise the “Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act”, which was enacted in 2012. It has also been proposed to the state government to formulate law enforcement units to hold regional level workshops involving lawyers, immigration, police, civil society and public representatives to launch awareness campaigns.
In order to encourage the voluntary return of illegal immigrants the commission has proposed to create human trafficking victim relief fund wherein any amount/fine received from travel agents or upon confiscation of acquired property will also go to this fund to provide relief for the rehabilitation of the victims.
The Commission which had taken suo-moto notice of multiple murders of members of the Punjabi community in Manila (Philippines) stated that the situation is grim and alarming. “No legal-aid has been provided to those settled in Philippines to fight for their rights. There is no law for the safety and security of Indians working in Philippines,” Justice Kumar stated.
The Commission has recommended to Punjab government to provide the Commission with an independent Investigating Team/Agency, headed by an Officer of the rank of IG, on the pattern of the Human Right Commission.