A Parliamentary committee has stressed the need for a uniform personal law on matrimonial issues including the mandatory registration of marriages. It has also asked the government to ensure verification of prospective NRI bridegrooms in their country of residence.
Aimed at preventing NRI husbands from duping wives in foreign lands, the Parliamentary Committee of Empowerment of Women has come up with a set of recommendations in the report titled 'Plight of Indian Women Deserted by NRI Husbands'.
The report tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday has recommended uniform personal laws for all religious communities on marriage, divorce, maintenance, property rights and related issues with special provisions for NRI marriages.
The Women and Child Development Ministry had already recommended a mandatory registration of marriages to the Law Ministry, which is holding consultations with states on the issue.
"The committee finds that in the Indian context, the absence of uniform civil laws and the abundance of personal laws of various religious communities make matrimonial disputes extremely difficult to deal with," the report said.
"In marriages with NRIs, registration will not only help a woman fight her case if deserted, but also enable the Embassy to have full information about the marriage," it said.
The committee has recommended that it should be the responsibility of the state to verify the credentials of the prospective bridegroom before registration of the marriage.
"There should be a law ensuring that before the marriage, the state government is informed, which in turn, would inform the Ministry of External Affairs for conducting the verification process. The verification can be done through Indian embassies," Krishna Tirath, chairperson of the committee told HT.
The committee has also recommended changes in rules for issuing passports saying details of the prospective or NRI husbands should be sought before issuing the passport. "It would put a check on fraud NRI husbands," she said.
Krishna Tirath also said that it is not only poor women, who are abandoned by their husbands. "We came across cases where daughters of civil servants were thrown out of their homes in foreign countries. If this can happen to educated women, what would be the condition of poor and semi-literate girls from Punjab, Haryana and Karnataka," she said, while suggesting specific awareness campaigns on the issue.
BS Ramoowalia, who has been involved in an awareness drive against fraud NRI husbands, said, NRI grooms have left their wives with children and are not paying any maintenance.