Action against errant husbands could act like a support mechanism for abandoned NRI wives | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Action against errant husbands could act like a support mechanism for abandoned NRI wives

The ministry for Women and Child Development is contemplating setting up a website on which registrars from states from across the country will upload details related to NRI marriages

editorials Updated: Jan 04, 2018 10:15 IST
A panel has recommended a provision to impound or cancel the passport of NRI husbands based on the wife’s complaint.
A panel has recommended a provision to impound or cancel the passport of NRI husbands based on the wife’s complaint.(File Photo)

The State is stepping in to provide relief to women abandoned by non-resident Indian (NRI) husbands. The ministry for Women and Child Development is contemplating setting up a website on which registrars from states from across the country will upload details related to marriages between Indian women and NRI men. On December 21, external affairs minister VK Singh told Parliament that Indian missions abroad had received 3328 complaints from Indian women about marital disputes with their NRI spouses since 2015. In 2009, the then NCW chairperson, Girija Vyas, had remarked that “out of 10 NRI marriages, two resulted in the wife being abandoned after honeymoon”. The picture doesn’t appear to have improved over the past few years.

Providing a single point of redress with a website that has exhaustive data related to marriages of NRIs with Indian nationals could help the government tackle complaints with greater urgency. The site is likely to include advice on how to proceed with a case, approaching the Indian missions overseas and seeking assistance of empanelled lawyers and NGOs. At present, the measures include providing legal and financial aid (USD 3,000 in developed countries and USD 2,000 in developing ones) for women who are abandoned or face divorce proceedings within 15 years.

In September last year, a high-powered panel headed by retired judge Arvind Kumar Goel (former chairman of Punjab’s state commission for NRIs) had recommended that husbands who harass or desert their wives face cancellation of their passports. The panel has also recommended that cases of domestic violence be included in the scope of extradition treaties that India signs with other countries. Among the other big-picture suggestions was the creation of a nodal national mechanism involving the ministry of external affairs, the home ministry and the National Commission of Women to deal with desertion by NRI husbands; and the inclusion of crucial details such as the social security number and the address of the NRI spouse in the marriage registration certificate. The State’s intervention may prove to be a good support mechanism for women who have been wronged. Stringent legal measures may act like deterrents for those who think of abandoning or abusing their wives.