Marriages to Non Resident Indians (NRIs) – A Wake Up Call – Legal Views

Sometimes these foreign dreams come at a cost of innocent lives and the future of the spouses who travel to a foreign land along with these NRIs. In some cases they do not even have to travel abroad to get harassed as their dreams get shattered while they are still in India.

Marriages to Overseas Indians: A Wake Up Call
In many of the Indian states and regions marriage of a son or a daughter abroad is taken to be a status symbol. Sometimes such marriages are taken as an easy way out to enter a foreign country for a comfortable life and lucrative future. But as it is said, all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes these foreign dreams come at a cost of innocent lives and the future of the spouses who travel to a foreign land along with these NRIs. In some cases they do not even have to travel abroad to get harassed as their dreams get shattered while they are still in India. In the eagerness of not to let go of such lucrative marriage offer, the families totally ignore even the common cautions that are observed in traditional matchmaking. A number of problems are emerging with the NRI marriages. The problem is not just due to opportunistic NRIs, but also because of the parents who trust someone whom they hardly know.

NRI marriages’, as generally understood, are between an Indian woman from India and an Indian man residing in another country (thus NRI – non-resident Indian), either as Indian citizen (when he would legally be an ‘NRI’) or as citizen of that other country (when he would legally be a PIO – person of Indian origin). The problem is especially related to Indian women who get trapped in deceptive matrimony with overseas Indians. They also ignore that in case of things going wrong in an NRI marriage, the woman’s recourse to justice is greatly constrained and complex. The aggravated risk in such marriage is the woman is being ‘isolated’ far away from home in an alien land, facing language constraints, communication problems, lack of proper information about the local criminal justice, police and legal system. The problem is manifold and it incorporates issues like dowry and various other types of harassment of married women in foreign countries, marriages of convenience, concealment of earlier existing marriage by the husband before marrying an Indian woman. Another very important issue which needs attention is lack of social security faced by an Indian woman in a foreign country when the marriage is not working. The situation is worsened by lack of support network of friends and family and monetary constraints which leaves the deserted wife completely helpless and stranded.

Here is the list of some of the typical instances of the issues that could arise in NRI marriages:

  • Woman married to an NRI who is abandoned even before being taken by her husband to the foreign country of his residence.
  • Woman brutally battered, assaulted, abused both mentally and physically, malnourished, confined and ill treated and forced to flee or was forcibly sent back.
  • A quick engagement, followed by a massive wedding, a huge dowry and a honeymoon, after which the NRI husband flies out of India while the wife waits for her visa.
  • The menace of ‘honeymoon brides’ is a big problem to deal with as over 20,000 brides have not seen their husbands after their honeymoon.
  •  Woman who reached the foreign country of her husband’s residence and waited at the international airport there only to find that her husband would not turn up at all.
  • NRI husband was already married in the other country to another woman.
  • Husband had given false information on any or all of the following: his job, immigration status, earning, property, marital status and other material particulars, to con her into the marriage.
  • Woman who approached the court, either in India or in the other country, for maintenance or divorce but repeatedly encountered technical legal obstacles related to jurisdiction of courts, service of notices or orders, or enforcement of orders or learnt of the husband commencing simultaneous retaliatory legal proceeding in the other country.

These problems have emphasized the requirement of provisions to protect these women and very importantly making them aware of their rights and social security means that are available for them.

There is a need to provide for the following provisions for the welfare of the victims:

  • Simplification of procedure for quick issuance of visa by foreign Missions in India to deserted women to enable them to contest the proceedings filed by NRI / PIO husband in a foreign land.
  • Introduction of a system of cross check / consent, when a NRI/PIO husband wants to cancel sponsorship of his spouse’s visa. Cancellation should not be permitted as long as dependency of the aggrieved women continues as per Indian law so as to enable her to continue to stay and contest proceedings in the foreign land without being deported and thus deprived of the opportunity to contest the case.
  • Grant of ex-parte divorce by foreign courts be barred in the case of marriages solemnized in India as per Indian law.
  • Procedural delay/low priority to issue LOC/RCN against accused NRI/PIO husband in cases of marital discord needs to be addressed.
  • Cases of domestic discord to be included in the scope of extradition treaties. (219th Report of the Law Commission recommends inclusion of cases of domestic discord within their scope).
  • Difficulty and consequent delay in serving judicial processes issued by Indian courts through the Indian Missions abroad to be addressed.
  • Simplification of procedure to facilitate extradition/deportation of errant husband and cancellation of passport to face civil/criminal trial in India especially if judicial processes of Indian courts are not responded to.
  • Need to develop mechanisms to enable quick tracking of NRIs/PIOs in case of desertion. Funds may also need to be allocated for location of such persons through agencies available for the purposes.
  • Recognition of NCW as an authorized body to directly make applications before foreign courts and foreign missions on behalf of aggrieved women where so required.
  • Building awareness.
  • Designating nodal officers/department for dealing with NRI issues.
  • Sensitization of police and authorities for registration of FIR & other NRI issues.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has proposed that women who marry Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) should be issued a second passport, which will remain with the woman’s parents so that they can help her to return in case her first passport is snatched by an abusive husband.
A copy of this second passport — which will be a “combined” document containing details of both the woman and her NRI husband, and will also serve as “proof” of their marriage — will be deposited with the Indian mission in the country where the woman goes to live, WCD Minister Krishna Tirath told The Indian Express.  The second passport, the minister said, will allow “the parents to intervene and help their girl. A copy (of this passport) should remain with the Indian embassies abroad so that they have a record, and are able to help the women in need”.  “Since we started NRI Cell in 2009, we have been able to solve 110 cases through positive intervention. We are focusing on three states – Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab – where cases of women deserted by NRI husbands are more,” said Khanna.

Khanna said that many women are not aware that most Indian missions or embassies have help desks to assist them. There is also a scheme for legal and financial assistance to Indian women deserted by their overseas Indian spouses,” said Khanna, who opined that National Domestic Violence Helpline in the US is one of the best help-lines as it also provides assistance to women in local languages of the immigrants.
Once the missions get information about a woman in distress, “they will also be directed to keep an eye on these families”, Tirath added.
Though matrimonial disputes are already intricate areas for legal system, and what is making the situation even more complex is that there is absence of uniform civil laws in India as the personal laws of different religions are different and  inter-religious marriages make it all the more difficult to deal with. So, in this existing difficult state of affairs, the legal complications get amplified when in a marriage a foreign country and its legal system get involved. These marriages have to then enter the sphere of private international law where there is conflict of laws of different countries, which makes the issues therein a lot more complex. Solutions to these problems need to be looked into.

About the Author

- Vakilno1 is a group of Law Enthusiasts and Legal Experts in India with a passion to provide the latest info and articles on Indian Legal System

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displaying 17 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. […] Marriages to Non Resident Indians(NRIs) – A Wake Up Call […]

  2. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not
    sure whether this post is written by him aas nobody else know
    such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!

  3. “NRI marriages’, as generally understood, are between an Indian woman from India and an Indian man residing in another country”- whoever who this article is a plain idiot or the people of india are idiots. What about a marriage between a Indian Boy and an NRI girl?

    and tell me one thing. what about the thousands of cases of these Indian men and women getting married to NRIs and then once they gain their permanent residency of that country-they leave their partners. Tell me what the Indian govt is/can do about that.

  4. baldev singh says:

    Please advice whom to write in Indian Ministry regarding NRI husband not responding to notices/summons of court (India), the Ex-parte divorce is held up for 5 years without any financial support for two children aged 10 & 5 years. Address, Email, & Passport No of NRI available and given to court. Please help.
    Warm regards,
    Baldev

  5. R.R. NAIR says:

    In a case filed against husband for Restitution of Conjugal rights and Maintenance, Family Court issued summons to husband who is working in SULTANATE OF OMAN.

    Since a Notice from the Advocate sent on his foreign address was returned with remarks “Not Known” (but we are sure that he is working and residing at the same address only), requested the court to issue the Summons through External Affairs Ministry to be forwarded through the Indian Embassy of Sultanate Oman.

    The Court simply addressed the summons to External Affairs Ministry, New Delhi, without any instructions/letter to the effect that it should be forwarded thru Indian Embassy. Will the Min.of External forward the same to Indian Embassy in Oman and tell them to serve upon the Accused.

    Shall be grateful if you could kindly let me know the correct procedure of service through EMBASSY in this matter.

    Thanks & Regards,

  6. pavithra says:

    Can you plz let me know how I can help a man who has been caught in a bad marriage to a PIO and is going through divorce. Butbhe has been falsely accused of abuse as his wife does not want to give him spousal support which he is entitled to. She had lodged a false case n he is on police custody. How can embassy or any one else help him. He has no job or money or social support to defend himself. Plz help.

  7. ABC says:

    Yes basically the south African consulate

  8. ABC says:

    There are many marriages where a boy marries and leaveshis wife alone in India and goes to south Africa.His parents, sister says he is so good,god fearing, respecting elders, know driving,computer all false/fraud. Even in matrimonial sites many cheaters cheat…but atlast a girl suffers TO GET OUT OF ALL THIS TROUBLE. After marriage a girl is told by husband and inlaws to leave the job and join them in abroad..and register the marriage and put her martial status in passport…she updates her martial status but her husband cheats he doesn’t update..She obeys them leaves her job but atlast she waits for months, years but they make her fool and she is left with no option…and even for her daily expenses she is not given any money.Husband stops even to give some money for her…poor girl and her parents becomes the victim of this cruel husband and inlaws..and when this girls thinks to join a job she is left with no option when she is born that place relatives and friend starts talking what happened to this girl see her husband went and she is still in her parents house..something wrong happened with her..to get a job also is difficult after years of gap…and even employer asks u r married where is your husband..if she says abroad she is not given job they think she will also go..but poor lady is rejected due to this and she doesn’t get job on the otherside she is struggling and inlaws and husband are enjoying..inorder to do marriage with a good family girl inlaws say all lie about there family..and in the starting while arranging the marriage inlaws says we want nothing even if the girl come like this after marriage ok we just want a good girl for my son but some days before of marriage inlaw starts sending emails of list of demand…and poor girl family does.. but after all the expenses spend inorder to fulfill inlaws demand the bride is treated with no respect even the sister-in-law troubles..and even the husband says who are you my parents and all are my blood…he forgets that he married to a girl who left her home and now here where she should get some love she is hated even though she is in sorrow thinking about the days she lived in her parents house and thinking about parents…the husband and inlaws troubles..

  9. Your Name... says:

    even when she thinks to get divorce its not easy so there should be some law if the husband is in abroad and he is not taking care financially or is not in contact and even has not updated his martial status and even his passport address is wrong in passport under all this above 2 yrs of separation a wife should get immediate divorce..on submitting all the documents…without any objection

  10. Your Name... says:

    inorder to stop all this NRI cheating of marriaging in 5 star hotels or any other place..registration in court should be done first and with the registration of marriage in the same time passport of both NRI groom and bride should be made necessary for registration and should be taken by the department and the same along with the registration passport maritial status should be updated and on that basis the further marriage ceremony should be allowed in hotels or anywhere..otherwise there should be fine or ban of license to the hotel or marriage halls..

  11. Your Name... says:

    There should be some law for human rights and the cases in the court should be solved out quick on the ground of submitting valid documents on the ground of separation after marriage for 2 yrs up..

    otherwise poor girl and parents struggles a lot..to get out of this and nri guy and inlaws enjoys there life.

  12. Your Name... says:

    Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) should also take above points in to consideration…

  13. Your Name... says:

    there should be an act if the wife and husband is not staying 2yrs up togather and if the women has updated her marital status and the husband has still not updated his martial status and he is staying with bachelor passport status in abroad and also if he is not in contact from abroad through phone, email or even post mails..and instead he is not answering his wife calls he is disconnecting it..on all this grounds divorce should be granted on first hearing itself..instead of wasting yesrs…of girls

  14. Your Name... says:

    even if husband in not financially supporting and also there is no house of NRI husband in India where the wife can stay..

  15. Your Name... says:

    Basically in Bandra court, Thane court etc all courts in Mumbai..the divorce cases should be solved quick in first hearing itself..

  16. Anonymous says:

    actually thing is that foreign commissions has given all rights to NRI like they can only process application and specifically without their doc visa can’t be processed and all that giving them a liberty to do wat they want. and a girl left only with option wait. and most of parents of groom are crook who never advise him in right way even support in his so kind of crucial activity. there should be judgement call to these type of people by telling them India is not country prostituation what they making it. and in such cases parents must b punished along with groom. as they r garanter of marriage.

    in all; woman married to NRI has her own right in visa appliance and must not be dependant on spouse’ call. this will itself improve fraudant.

  17. ABC says:

    There are many marriages where a boy marries and leaveshis wife alone in India and goes to south Africa.His parents, sister says he is so good,god fearing, respecting elders, know driving,computer all false/fraud. Even in matrimonial sites many cheaters cheat…but atlast a girl suffers TO GET OUT OF ALL THIS TROUBLE. After marriage a girl is told by husband and inlaws to leave the job and join them in abroad..and register the marriage and put her martial status in passport…she updates her martial status but her husband cheats he doesn’t update..She obeys them leaves her job but atlast she waits for months, years but they make her fool and she is left with no option…and even for her daily expenses she is not given any money.Husband stops even to give some money for her…poor girl and her parents becomes the victim of this cruel husband and inlaws..and when this girls thinks to join a job she is left with no option when she is born that place relatives and friend starts talking what happened to this girl see her husband went and she is still in her parents house..something wrong happened with her..to get a job also is difficult after years of gap…and even employer asks u r married where is your husband..if she says abroad she is not given job they think she will also go..but poor lady is rejected due to this and she doesn’t get job on the otherside she is struggling and inlaws and husband are enjoying..inorder to do marriage with a good family girl inlaws say all lie about there family..and in the starting while arranging the marriage inlaws says we want nothing even if the girl come like this after marriage ok we just want a good girl for my son but some days before of marriage inlaw starts sending emails of list of demand…and poor girl family does.. but after all the expenses spend inorder to fulfill inlaws demand the bride is treated with no respect even the sister-in-law troubles..and even the husband says who are you my parents and all are my blood…he forgets that he married to a girl who left her home and now here where she should get some love she is hated even though she is in sorrow thinking about the days she lived in her parents house and thinking about parents…the husband and inlaws troubles..

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