The Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Chandigarh has suspended the passports of seven Non-Resident Indian (NRI) men who had deserted their wives soon after marrying them, the Indian Express reported.
The move was made after the women filed complaints against their NRI husbands, saying that they had married a second time in foreign countries without their knowledge, after abandoning them in India. The RPO stated that they were seizing passports of those it found guilty, as per the report.
The Chandigarh Passport Office has also launched a new helpline — 0172-2971918 — where wives of NRIs can report such matters.
“The inquiry and investigation process will be faster than usual as thousands of Indian women suffer in such cases,” a senior official at the passport office said, the publication reported. About 12,000 cases of abandoned wives were under the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh RPO, which has 24 districts, 12 each from Punjab and Haryana, and Chandigarh falling under its purview, Regional Passport Officer Sibash Kabiraj, said, according to the Tribune.
“Nearly 80 per cent of the total abandoned wives under the jurisdiction of the passport office belong to the 12 Punjab districts,” Kabiraj was quoted as saying by the Tribune.
He congratulated the task force formed over the issue, which is assisting women facing similar situations. “As per directions of the External Affairs Ministry, we will cancel passports of the NRI grooms against whom police have registered cases and the court has issued summons,” Kabiraj added.
The Chandigarh RPO has also constituted a core group comprising deserted wives of NRIs in order to take stricter measures against grooms who leave India after abandoning their spouses. The core group, which has four such women, was recently given an office, after a large number of women abandoned by NRI husbands visited the passport office to seek steps against them.
The Indian government had earlier revoked passports of five NRIs for abandoning their wives within a short span of their marriage or after disputes abroad. The action was taken after the Ministry of External Affairs agreed to the proposal set forth by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry for taking stringent action in NRI matrimonial dispute cases.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said earlier this month that marriages of all NRIs solemnized in India will now have to be registered within 48 hours, else the passport and visa would not be issued.