The government may soon decide to stamp the marital status of non-resident Indians on their passports.
Alarmed by the increasing instances of NRIs abandoning their wives in India, the government is considering ways to check fraudulent marriages in the country. It is estimated that 30,000 women have been abandoned by NRIs in India.
Overseas Affairs minister Vayalar Ravi and minister of state for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury discussed the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday. "The stamp will have details like the place and the date of marriage," a senior government official said.
The government is considering two approaches for this. It will ask the US and the UK governments to seek information about the marital status of persons applying for visas and provide this information on the visa itself. Most NRI distress marriages are reported from Indians in the US and UK.
Alternately the marital status would be mentioned on the passport. "It will provide documentary evidence to check the status," the official explained. However, the proposal will need the permission of the Ministry of External Affairs, as the Passport Act would have to be amended. "It would be discussed with MEA soon," an official said.
On the mandatory registration of marriages, the two ministries have decided to pursue the registration of marriages with the Law Ministry. Mandatory registration can be a deterrent, as experience in NRI surplus Kerala has shown.
The two ministries have also sought information from the MEA about extradition treaties between India and other countries on marriage related cases.
The government is also examining recommendations on NRI marriages including mandatory registration of NRI marriages, bilateral agreements between India and other countries with large Indian diaspora, government processed reconciliation process and counselling of NRI marriage victims.