NEW DELHI: The Law Commission of India is all set to submit its report on the issues regarding Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages to the government, according to Law Ministry sources.
In November last year, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) asked the Law Commission to examine the issues plaguing NRI marriages and strengthen the legal framework concerning international public law and private laws.
The Commission, headed by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, is in the process of finalizing the report and is likely to submit it by next week, according to the source. In its report, the Commission has suggested stringent measures to address grave issues such as abandonment of children and wives, impounding of passports, extradition, custody of children, and ill-treatment of wives in NRI marriages.
The Commission also examined the 2019 bill on the registration of marriages of NRIs and the Foreign Marriage Act. “The Commission may submit the report by next Monday or later. It has thoroughly examined the existing international public law and private laws and has given suggestions to address various concerns in NRI marriages,” said the official who is aware of the developments.
The source said that the Commission has suggested steps to address the lacunas in the system that benefit the violators of the laws. Sources said that the MEA has also sent references in this regard to the Law Commission to examine the lacunae in the concerned laws.
According to the MEA, it has received a large number of complaints from Indian women married to overseas Indians. Such cases include abandonment of wives in India, delays in sponsoring of visas by spouses, cases of spouses stopping all communications, harassment of women by husbands and in-laws, and ex-parte divorce by spouses, among others. These cases often also include issues related to child custody.
According to the Ministry, the Missions/Posts provide appropriate counseling, guidance, and information to the aggrieved Indian women about legal procedures and mechanisms in such cases. The Indian Missions and Posts also conduct walk-in sessions and open house meetings for distressed Indians, including women, to address their grievances.
Furthermore, Missions and Posts also maintain a 24x7 Helpline for emergencies, and assistance is also provided through social media platforms. Financial and legal assistance is provided under the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to distressed NRI women, wherever applicable, said MEA.
Tough steps suggested against many ills
In its report, the panel suggested stringent measures to address issues such as abandonment of children and wives, impounding of passports, extradition, custody of children, and ill-treatment of wives in NRI marriages. It also studied the 2019 bill on registration of marriages of NRIs and the Foreign Marriage Act.