Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Over 3,000 Complaints of NRI Marriage Disputes Received in 3 Years: External Affairs Ministry

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As many as 3,328 complaints from Indian women who have NRI spouses about their marital disputes have been received by the Ministry of External Affairs, and its missions or posts abroad since 2015, a statement from the ministry said on Dec. 21.

The number of complaints received until Nov. 30 this year is 1,022. The figures were 1,510 and 796 in 2016 and 2015, respectively, the Ministry of External Affairs said in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, PTI reported.

The government has taken measures to protect Indian women facing abandonment or divorce or other problems from their NRI husbands, VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, said.

Of the 3,328 complaints received, 3,268 were addressed by way of providing counseling, guidance and information about procedures. “Mechanisms for serving judicial summons on the overseas Indian husband; filing a case in India, issuing Look Out Circulars; impounding and revocation of Indian passport of the husband; getting access to lawyers and NGOs empaneled with Indian Missions etc. and legal and financial assistance under ICWF,” Singh said.

He also informed the Rajya Sabha that since 2014, an increasing number of women are approaching the government through the social media for assistance. “Use of social media is quick and every minute the people are increasingly using this route hence very dynamic,” said Singh.

He added that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has also received a large number of requests on her Twitter handle. The government has provided assistance to 88,302 Indians residing abroad during emergency and conflict, Singh said.

The government has been planning several initiatives to address cases of disputes in NRI marriages. It is thinking of collecting data on all registered marriages in a move to curb incidents of desertion of wives in a foreign country, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said on Nov. 6. The ministry is also looking at creating an integrated nodal agency to look into problems faced in NRI marriages.

An inter-ministerial committee recommended to the Ministry of External Affairs that Aadhaar should be made mandatory for registration of NRI marriages in India. The panel on NRI marriages was formed last year under the chairmanship of retired Justice Arvind Goel, the former chairman of the NRI Commission of Punjab. The panel consists of officials from the ministries of Women and Child Development, Home Affairs, External Affairs, and the department of Telecommunications.