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Judiciary

Law Commission for comprehensive law on NRI marriages [Read Report]

By Jhanak Singh      19 February, 2024 05:29 PM      0 Comments
Law Commission for comprehensive law on NRI marriages

NEW DELHI: Noting rising occurrence of fraudulent marriages as a worrisome trend, the Law Commission has recommended for a comprehensive legislation, including compulsory registration of marriages by the non resident and overseas citizens of India with the Indian nationals.

The panel headed by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi conducted an in-depth study of the law concerning the instant subject-matter, including the NRI Bill, 2019 and the practical difficulties relating to the issue.

"Several reports highlight an increasing pattern where these marriages tum out to be deceptive, putting Indian spouses, especially women, in precarious situations. Deceptive practices like false assurances, misrepresentation, and abandonment are commonly associated with these fraudulent unions causing distress to Indian partners," it said.

The Commission presented its 287 th report to the Law Minister on 'Law on Matrimonial Issues Relating to Non Resident Indians and Overseas Citizens of India', having examined the matter on a reference from the Ministry of External Affairs on April 10, 2023 on the NRI Bill, 2019.

The Commission noted that desertion of married women by NRIs and victims of domestic violence in other countries is a serious problem. "They often endure financial and physical exploitation by their NRI spouses, and yet ironically, in the absence of a dedicated legal framework, victims have no legal protection. Additionally, they encounter numerous legal hurdles concerning private international law, including jurisdictional matters, service of notice, and enforcement of orders and decrees," it said.

It recommended that all marriages between the NRIs/OCIs and Indian citizens should be made compulsorily registered in India.

The said comprehensive central legislation should also include provisions on divorce, maintenance of spouse, custody and maintenance of children, serving of summons, warrants, or judicial documents on the NRIs/OCIs, etc, it said.

"Such a legislation should be made applicable not only to the NRIs but also to those individuals who come within the definition of 'Overseas Citizens of India' (OCIs) as laid down under Section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955," the panel said.

The Commission recommended that requisite amendments need to be introduced in the Passports Act, 1967 in order to mandate the declaration of marital status, the linking of a spouse's passport with the other and mentioning of the Marriage Registration Number on the passports of both the spouses.

Furthermore, the Government, in collaboration with the National Commission for Women and the State Commissions for Women in India and the NGOs and Indian associations abroad, should conduct awareness programs for women and their families who are about to enter into marital relationship with NRI/OCIs, it said.

The Commission noted the official data of the Ministry of External Affairs, stating 3,22,85,425 people are settled overseas as on October 5, 2023. Out of this figure, 1,36,01,780 are Non-Resident Indians (NRI) and 1,86,83,645 are Persons of Indian Origin (PIO).
 

[Read Report]



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