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Summons to Absconding NRI Husbands to be Displayed on External Affairs Ministry Website: Report

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is going to display its summons to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who have abandoned their wives, on its official website, IANS reported, citing an official.

This was one of the decisions taken among others during a meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on June 12, the report said. The ministers — External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi — met under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the measures to be put in place over the issue.

After the meeting, the ministries of law, home and external affairs were asked to prepare draft legal amendments in accordance with the discussions held. The amendments will then be sent to the Cabinet for approval.

The Women and Child Development took to the social media to post updates about the meeting.

“We are working towards putting in place an efficient mechanism that will provide immediate relief to women in troubled NRI marriages,” the WCD ministry tweeted.

The Law Ministry had earlier disapproved the proposal to display summons of NRI marriages on the MEA website. It is also not on the same page as the WCD ministry on other measures like impounding passports and confiscation of the property of NRI husbands who have been found guilty of abandoning their wives and failed to appear in the court, the agency reported.

The government is also considering making changes in the law to facilitate confiscation of an absconding NRI husband’s share of joint property as well as prevention of alienation of land held commonly by the NRI groom and his family. This will aim to build pressure on spouses who do not answer court summons, the Times of India reported. The unanswered summons will be put up on the MEA website.

These measures will be proposed to the Cabinet after legal scrutiny. The GoM is said to be in agreement over the changes in the law that will be required, as there will be a need to amend the code of criminal procedure (CrPC), the marriage registration act and passport rules, officials said, as per TOI.

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 MEA agreed to the proposal set forth by the WCD ministry for taking  stringent action in NRI matrimonial dispute cases.

Also, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had said recently 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.