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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court of India by wives of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) highlighting the marriage frauds committed by NRI men living abroad.

Citing data of close to 50,000 cases PAN India, the petition, argued by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, states the following issues that are prevalent in cases of NRI marriage fraud:

NRI marriage fraud cases are wrongfully registered under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980.

Requests for husband’s deportation also have been rejected by the foreign countries in many cases.

Many a times, the husband withdraws the visa sponsorship for spouse following the matrimonial discord.

In India, the National Commission for Women and State Women Commissions have no power to act against NRI men who defraud their wives or direct police to take action against such men.

There is inefficient process in issuing Look Out Circulars and Non-Bailable Warrants against NRI husbands.

The police are lax in following up the process in such cases.

There are procedural delays at the level of Union Ministry in processing requests for issuance of Look Out Circulars and serving Non-Bailable Warrants through Indian Missions at foreign nations.

Able assistance is not forthcoming from Indian Embassies abroad.

In many cases, whereabouts of husbands abroad remain unknown for years.

Though section 10(3)(h) of the Passports Act gives power to the Passport Authority to impound passport in case of any warrant or summons is pending against the passport-holder, the provision is rarely invoked against NRI husbands who abandon or harass their wives.

The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre and hinted at policy formulation in view of the absence of procedures to be followed by police, immigration authorities and embassies throughout the world for providing speedy justice to wives abandoned by NRI husbands.

These guidelines are also sought to enable service of summons and warrant on NRI husbands electronically through email, whatsapp and the like. Since women have to suffer physically, mentally and financially too, the petitioners sought free legal aid to them and a scheme for financial support as women lose their jobs after marriage to NRI men based outside the country.

Surabhi Aggarwal

Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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