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

Govt to Act Tough Against Absconding NRI Husbands, Says Sushma Swaraj

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

The Indian government is planning to strengthen the rules in a bid to tackle cases of marriage disputes involving Non-Resident Indians. A new law, “Summons and Warrants Against Indian People Living Abroad,” will be enacted during the next session of parliament, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on July 17, ANI reported.

The government will also bring in other measures to take actions against NRI men accused of abandoning their wives, Swaraj said. A website is under development on which notices and warrants against them will be posted, and deemed as served. If the accused NRI does not respond, he would be declared a proclaimed offender and legal action will be initiated against him. The proposal to launch the website has been cleared by the ministries of external affairs, law, home and women and child development.

“The law will enable online serving of summons/warrants against NRIs who have abandoned their wives and have illegally married abroad through a new MEA website. We will upload summons and warrants on the website and those not responding to it will be declared a proclaimed offender and his properties would be seized,” Swaraj said at a conference held over the issue of NRI marriages and trafficking of women and children, according to ANI.

For the summons on the website to be considered as “served” under Indian law, the Code of Criminal Procedure would require some amendments, which the government will try to get passed in the parliament at the earliest.

“We are trying if the amendments could be introduced in the cabinet and we would try to get it passed in the next parliament session,” Swaraj was quoted as saying by PTI.

The new law will enable the government to cancel the passport of the accused NRI as well as confiscate his property in India.

“We will not only cancel the passport but also confiscate the property. And NRIs who don’t return, their property could be sold to give financial aid to their aggrieved wives. We will have to make some amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure,” Swaraj added.

In the last three years, the External Affairs Ministry has received 3,328 complaints from Indian women who say that they have been deserted by their NRI husbands.

“We are acting tough on such cases. For a start, the passports of eight NRI men accused of abandoning their wives have been cancelled. The accused whose passports were revoked have surrendered,” Swaraj added.

Until the new law comes into place, an inter-ministerial committee has been set up to look into complaints against NRI husbands accused of abandoning their wives.