The integrated nodal agency (INA), an inter-ministerial body that is examining the issues faced by women trapped in bad marriages with Non-Resident Indian husbands, is reviewing requests of revocation of 10 passports made by the National Commission for Women. The committee has asked the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to expedite action.
INA, which has begun investigations into the matter of absconding NRI husbands, chaired its first meeting on Jan. 18, which was headed by Maneka Gandhi, the Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD). The WCD ministry took to the social media to update people about its proceedings.
“INA decided that MEA will launch a website to post summons issued against absconding husbands after obtaining legal advice from the Ministry of Law and Justice(MLJ). MLJ will also initiate the process of amendment of relevant laws to make registration of NRI marriages compulsory,” the Ministry for Women and Child Development tweeted.
It also said that necessary powers will be given to the INA to issue Look Out Circulars (LoCs) against absconding NRI husbands.
The agency is headed by Ministry for Women and Child Development secretary and also includes officials from other ministries such as Home, Law, and External Affairs.
Many steps have been proposed and taken by the government to safeguard the interest of deserted wives of NRIs. The Ministry of External Affairs on Dec. 21 2017 stated that MEA and its missions or posts abroad have received as many as 3,328 complaints from Indian women who have NRI spouses since 2015.
Earlier this year, the registrars from all the states across India were told by the government that they will now have to upload details associated with NRI marriages on the new website that the Ministry for Women and Child Development is setting up. The move is aimed at tackling the issue of NRI husbands abandoning or ill-treating their wives. This would also help tackle the problem more promptly.
On Nov. 6, 2017, Gandhi said that the Indian government is planning to collect data on all registered marriages to make NRI grooms more accountable and curb incidents of desertion of wives in a foreign country.
Also, in September last year, a high-level committee set up to research and formulate guidelines for safeguarding the rights of NRI wives recommended that NRIs who harass and desert their wives could face severe punishment, including cancellation of passport. “The panel believes this will facilitate the extradition of NRI spouses to India for trial. At present, when it comes to desertion, domestic violence or dowry harassment cases, it is next to impossible to get the man to return for facing legal proceedings,” the Hindustan Times had then quoted a source as saying.
The inter-ministerial committee also recommended to the MEA in September 2017 that Aadhaar should be made mandatory for registration of NRI marriages in India.