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Abandoned bride in distress due to runaway foreign country

resident Indian spouse, stressed non-resident Asian parent frantically

searching spouse in India who has removed their child from a foreign
jurisdiction in violation of a foreign court order, desperate parent seeking
child support and maintenance, non-resident spouse seeking
enforcement of foreign divorce decree in India, agitated children of
deceased non-resident Indian turning turtle in trying to seek transfer of
property in India and its repatriation to foreign shores, anxious and
1 Y. Narasimha Rao vs. Y. Venkata Lakshmi, JT 1991 (3) SC 33
9excited foreign adoptive parents desperately trying to resolve Indian
legal formalities for adopting a child in India, bewildered officials of a
foreign High Commission trying to understand the customary practices
of marriage and divorce exclusively saved by Indian legislation, foreign
police officials trying to understand intricacies of Indian law in
apprehending offenders of law on foreign soil: these are some instances
of problems arising every day from cross-border migration.
In the case of Smt. Neeraja Saraph vs. Shri Jayant V. Saraph
, the
Supreme Court held that although it is a problem of Private International Law
and is not easy to be resolved, but with change in social structure and rise of
marriages with NRI the Union of India may consider enacting a law like the
Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, 1933 enacted by the British
Parliament under Section 1 in pursuance of which the Government of United
Kingdom issued Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (India) Order, 1958.
The Court recommended that feasibility of a legislation safeguarding interest of
women may be examined by incorporating such provisions as3
JT 1994 (6) SC 488
18(a) no marriage between a NRI and an Indian woman which has taken
place in India may be annulled by a foreign court;
(b) provision may be made for adequate alimony to the wife in the
property of the husband both in India and abroad;
(c) the decree granted by Indian courts may be made executable in
foreign courts both on principle of comity and by entering into reciprocal
agreements like Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code which makes a
foreign decree executable as it would have been a decree passed by that

Government asked to develop better coordination/mechanism amongst

Ministries/organizations for welfare of victims of failed NRI Marriages
Government asked to maintain information about habitual NRI offenders

of multiple marriages on website of MOIA

Government criticized for not providing staff and funds for NRI Cell of
National Commission for Women (NCW)
NCW asked to include rehabilitation programmes for victims of NRI
Government asked to persuade State Governments to appoint nodal
officers at district level to expedite cases of NRI marriages
Missions/Posts/Passport authorities asked to take quick action against
offending NRI husbands
Government asked to provide more fund under the scheme for
providing legal/financial assistance to women deserted by NRI
Government asked to include the rehabilitation and counseling of
victims of NRI marriages as part of the scheme
Missions/Posts asked to assist in knowing antecedents and whereabouts
of the NRI bridegrooms
Quick issuance of Visa and providing other assistance to deserted
women - recommended
Establishment of complaint and counseling desk for victims of NRI
marriages in Indian Missions recommended.
Committee is disappointed with the assistance being provided to needy
women deserted by NRI husbands
Better preparation and circulation of awareness material relating to NRI
marriages recommended
Dedicated desks for aggrieved spouses in Embassies/Missions/
Consulates in India
Government asked to enact comprehensive Legislation to tackle the
problems to NRI marriages
Registration of marriages should be made compulsory in all States for
all citizens

. Broken Marriages & Fraudulent Marriages

All broken marriages are NOT fraudulent marriages.
Inability of spouses to cope with mutual differences as well as an inability to come to
terms with the cultural
differences prevalent in a foreign land cannot be reasons to classify a marriage as
B. Fraudulent Marriages Major Reasons
1. Concealment of material facts - marital status, education, age, medical / health
2. To seek easy immigration to foreign shores for self and family (parents and siblings)
3. Fulfilling academic ambitions of acquiring a foreign degree
4. Leading a lavish lifestyle marked with extravagance

5. Flaunting an NRI status in community

6. To draw from the source(s) of funds made available through overseas Indian spouses
7. To gain an entry into foreign lands to reunite with their paramours
8. Extort money by filing false and frivolous charges / cases
9. To seek hefty alimony by resorting to divorce thereby facilitating easy money for a
lavish lifestyle.
6. NRIs more Vulnerable : Misuse of gender-biased laws gains more prevalence in cases
where the groom is an
NRI or has overseas connections. NRIs are presumed to be flush with money whilst
marriage with an NRI
provides the easiest and fastest means to immigrate to foreign shores. These 2 general
unfortunately makes NRIs more vulnerable to fraudulent marriages. There are ample
evidences to show
that NRI grooms are invariably forced to pay outrageous amounts when it comes to
putting an end to such
fraudulent knots.
a) Women who resort to false charges under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code do so to
force a quick and
favourable settlement as well as assured custody of the child.
b) The erring spouse may also level false accusations of domestic violence and
abandonment in foreign
countries so as to allow for a plea for asylum and hence immigration benefits.

Suggestions & Recommendations

(NRI Marriages)
Providing a solution to NRI marriages is not easy. One needs to understand the
educational, social and psychological
background of the spouses involved. An understanding of the mechanics and dynamics of
divorce proceedings in the
foreign country is also very vital.
1. Counsellors with knowledge about Indian Values & Culture : Having neutral Indian
marriage counsellors to
help resolve marital conflicts would go a long way in strengthening NRI marriages.
2. Increase Awareness of citizens emigrating to foreign lands : Government should make
requisite efforts so as to
help citizens set realistic expectations of life abroad.
3. Permission to return to place of employment abroad : It is suggested that unless it is an
alleged case of suicide
or death, there should not be any restrictions on the movement of the NRI. Also, the NRIs
should be allowed to

return to their place of employment abroad, and should not be detained as long as the trial
is pending. This
would help minimise hardships as also save any loss of livelihood for the NRIs family,
thereby preventing such
loss from translating into a burden on the society at large.
4. No revocation/ impounding of Passport / No Lookout Cards / No Interpol Red Corner
Notices : It would be in
the interest of justice if some distinction is maintained between family matters and
matters which pose a serious
threat to the security and territorial integrity of the country. NRIs are not dreaded
criminals, neither do family
related issues qualify to become acts of grave criminal intent unless there is suicide or
death involved. To facilitate
this distinction, as also to avoid placing undue restrictions on the movement of falsely
accused NRIs it is
suggested that the passports of NRIs should not be impounded or revoked, and no
Lookout Cards or Interpol Red
Corner Notices be issued against them, unless they are found guilty by a court of Law.
5. Expeditious investigation and trial : A time bound trial should be made a statutory
requirement. It is needless to
reiterate that the said measure would be beneficial to all and would also help uphold the
faith of citizens in the
Law creating and Law enforcing agencies of India.
6. No arrest of NRIs family : Interpol Red Corner Notices and Lookout Cards are issued
against NRIs and their family
members without even verifying the veracity of complaints. Thus even false charges lead
to issue of LOC / Red
Corner Notices. It is suggested that NRIs and their family members should not be
arrested unless the alleged
charges are for causing suicide or death.
7. Assistance in Legal representation : Enormous hardships, cost and time are involved in
expediting cases
involving NRIs. It is suggested that facilities for video-conferencing be made available in
Consulates and other
authorized overseas offices of Government of India so as to facilitate appearance in
Indian Courts. The Supreme
Court of India in State of Maharashtra v/s. Dr. Praful Desai and others had said that even
in criminal matters
evidence can be by way of electronic records, which would include video-conferencing.
Such a facility, if
provided, would go a long way in easing the hardships faced by the NRIs in legal matters.
8. Child custody : Fighting child custody cases under laws of 2 different countries
complicates the issue on hand
because jurisdictional issues. In such cases, laws should ensure and take into account the
best interest of the

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9. Affidavits from Spouses : Medical reports and affidavits under penalty of perjury from
both the spouses should
be exchanged and registered. This will go a long way in preventing marital fraud.
10. Compulsory Registration of Marriages and list of Gifts exchanged : Gifts given to the
bride and the groom
during the course of marriage should be compulsorily registered along with the
registration of marriage.
11. Mandatory prenuptial agreement : A prenuptial agreement is in the best interest of
both spouses as it protects
both the spouses in case of marital fraud. The registration of a prenuptial agreement
should be made mandatory.
12. Common Sense approach to weed out false cases : If any case of harassment or dowry
is registered in India by
wife of NRI husband then courts must also find out if any such case(s) are registered in
the foreign country
against the NRI husband too. If any such case is not registered in the foreign country, this
is one of the best
indicators that the cases (498a and DV) are false.
13. Stringent punishment for Abusers of law : The punishment for misusing this strict law
should be equally
stringent. Once a complaint has been found to be false, severe penalties should be
imposed to discourage misuse
of this law.
14. No Arrests unless absolutely necessary - An arrest on a criminal charge has grave
consequences - social, mental
and financial, for the individual. Unless there is irrefutable evidence to suggest physical
torture, no arrests should
be made. Also, senior citizens, minors (children below the age of 18), pregnant women
and people requiring
medical attention should be excluded from arrests. The final decision in this regard
should be taken by an
Authority not less than the Superintendent of Police of the District who too should have
general instructions to
apply his mind judiciously in each individual case on its merits and then pass suitable
order(s) in writing.
15. Gender-biased Laws : should be made bailable and compoundable, as also
recommended by The Malimath
Committee Report on Reforms of Criminal Justice System, 2003 (Refer Para 16.4 of the
16. Gender Neutrality : All laws should endeavor to punish the guilty and protect the
innocent, irrespective of the

gender. The laws should be made gender neutral to protect the interests of any innocent,
be it a man or a
woman. The gender specific words like husband and wife should be replaced by
gender-neutral words like
spousein all gender-biased laws.
a) The paradigm of male being a perpetrator and female being a victim doesnt allow a
response that does not
fit the paradigm. Defining the problem is the first step.
b) In keeping with the rapid changes in society, acceptance that no one, regardless of
gender, deserves to be
abused should be the standard together with equal treatment for those with like
circumstances, irrespective
of gender.
Abandoned Brides
An issue with wide ramifications
On numerous occasions, the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Chairperson of
National Commission for
Women as well as the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs have cited data on number of
Indian Women deserted by
their NRI husbands. [Annexure 13]
1. The aforementioned sources have termed these women Abandoned Brides.
2. The quoted data has specific relevance to NRI marriages only.
3. Other countries have taken cognizance of the said issue and have begun stipulating
combat strategies
through their new policies towards Indian Nationals. Undoubtedly, such policies would
have drastic, far
reaching impact on the lives and lifestyle of Indian Nationals residing abroad.
[Annexure 14]
Given such facts, it would be worthwhile to take a deeper look into the said malady,
which needs to be addressed
through an appropriate remedy. It would be pertinent at this juncture to look at statistics
and the various reasons that
have culminated in giving effect to this phenomenal trend.

(with reference to specific Indian states)
As enumerated in Chapter 3 there are various reasons why Resident Indians prefer to
marry a NRI. Chief amongst
them are immigration to foreign shores, extortion of money, leading a lavish lifestyle,
flaunting an NRI status, etc.
Apart from the said reasons, it would be prudent to take a deeper look into the specific
regions of India wherefrom
cases of abandonment are being reported in large numbers.

DOABA region in Punjab

Ministry of WCD is quoting a startling figure of 15000 abandoned brides from Doaba
region alone, which is
about 50% of the total alleged cases (30,000). Punjab therefore leads the pack of all states
wherefrom cases
of abandoned brides are being allegedly reported.
This certainly calls for a deeper probe to gain a better insight into the issues which are
working as triggers to
orchestrate such high figures of abandonment. Understanding socio-cultural, economic
and political factors
prevalent in Doaba is crucial to devising appropriate remedy for the issue of
Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad allegedly ranks second to the Doaba region of Punjab in the number of NRI
abandoned brides.
The common thread binding these two evidently diverse geographical and cultural
regions is the
irrepressible urge to leave Indian shores or to become an NRI.
While the traffic from the Doaba is more of the nature of unskilled labour largely opting
for resettlement in
the UK or Canada, most applicants from the IT hub of India are the highly skilled IT
professionals hankering
for the promising US shores. This distinction however does not affect their willingness to
commit visa fraud
in order to gain means to their end.
1. Doaba leads in Migration : Of the 3.18 lakh persons who travel abroad per year from
the state of Punjab, 75
per cent are from the Doaba region alone (Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Ludhiana). By all
standards this is
certainly an amazing fact, and speaks volumes about the psyche of populace in this
region. [Annexure 18]
2. Immigration racket in Punjab : Punjabs flourishing immigration racket reflects a
deeper socio-economic
phenomenon where people are willing to cross multiple borders, hide in ships as
stowaways, impersonate,
apply for asylum or exhaust an entire lifes savings to get a passage abroad. Every major
immigration and
human trafficking scandal, like the Malta boat tragedy, the Daler Mehndi case, the ICCR
case and now the MP
immigration scam, exposes the lengths to which the enterprising Punjabi can go to leave
Indian shores.
[Annexure 19]
3. Data quoted by Punjab Police : [Annexure 19]
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Year 2005 : 594 cases registered, 655 travel agents arrested.
Year 2006 : 751 cases filed, 755 travel agents booked.
Year 2007 (Jan - March) : 159 cases registered and 57 travel agents arrested.
4. Agriculture - no more remunerative : There are several studies to believe that the
famous food bowl of India
has little charm for the new generation of farmers in Punjab. This in turn has triggered the
spate of
migrations happening from the state.
As one such Food Policy Analyst says, Punjabs underbelly was gradually caving in.
Agriculture had turned
not only unremunerative but also highly unsustainable. Intensive farming had led to the
collapse of Green
Revolution. Farmers were pumping in more chemical inputs to maintain their crop
harvests. Over the years
indebtedness began growing to phenomenal levels. A recent Punjab Agricultural
University shows as
many as 89 per cent of Punjab farm households are reeling under debt. The per farm
family debt today
stands at a staggering Rs. 1,78,934. In other words, for every hectare of land holding, the
outstanding debt is
Rs 50,140.
He further goes on to say, Still worse tractors -- the symbol of prosperity have now
turned into a symbol
of suicides. Tractor owners are more heavily indebted with the average outstanding
exceeding Rs 2 lakh.
Marginal and small farmers owning tractors are still worse off. With the input prices
climbing year after year
and the output prices remaining static, Punjab farmers became a victim of the same
economic policies that
projected them as countrys heroes. No wonder, the average income of a Punjab farm
family hovers around Rs
3,000 a month.
Over the years, intensive farming practices have pushed farmers deeper into debt. Highchemical input
based technology has already mined the soils and ultimately led to the lands gasping for
breath, with the
water-guzzling crops (hybrids and Bt cotton) sucking the groundwater acquifer dry, and
with the failure of
the markets to rescue the farmers from a collapse of the farming systems, the tragedy is
that the human cost
is entirely being borne by the farmers. In Punjab, of the 138 development blocks, 108
have already been
declared dark zones, the level of groundwater exploitation in these blocks has been in
excess of 98 per cent

against the critical limit of 80 per cent. The resulting destruction wrought on the natural
resource base soil
health deteriorating, water table plummeting and pesticides contaminating the
environment agriculture
has turned into a losing proposition. More and more Punjab farmers therefore began to
agriculture. With no job opportunities coming in handy, escape from Punjab became a
alternative. [Annexure 20]
5. Migration - an obsession : Migration to foreign shores is an obsession with the
population in Doaba.
Despite all difficulties and risks inherent in illegal means of migration, the craze for west
remains steadfast
amongst the populace in Doaba.
[Annexure 21]
6. Abandonment not a deterrent to Migration : Marriage to an NRI offers the easiest and
fastest means to
immigrate to other countries. In their craze to go west, many people have been duped and
abandoned by
their NRI spouses, simply because the duped spouse failed to act with due diligence.
Interestingly, despite
such cases of abandonment, migration from Doaba or for that matter from other regions
of India has not
shown any decline. Natives from Punjab continue to migrate to West, especially Canada,
UK, Middle-east,
USA, etc.
7. H1-B visa fraud : Media reports say that Hyderabad and Bangalore are centers of H1B
visa fraud. It is no
coincidence that both the regions with large immigrant populations and a mindset that the
ends justify the
means are also the regions with allegedly the largest numbers of NRI abandoned brides.
While undoubtedly
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some of these will truly be cases of desertion, a large number will also be cases of
fraudulent marriages with
misrepresentation in order to attain NRI status, or marriages in a flux due to delayed or
cancelled visa
processing and contract marriages entered into expressly for the purpose of attaining NRI
status. [Annexure

Woman who was coaxed to travel to the foreign country of the mans residence and
get married in that country, who later discovered that Indian courts have even more
limited jurisdiction in such cases.
Woman who had to fight nasty legal battles for custody of her children and for child
support, and to bring them back with her after she was divorced or forced to leave,
sometimes even facing charges of illegally abducting her own children.
Many woman have also approached the Commission seeking redressal of their
having been deserted by their NRI Spouses
Woman whose husband, taking advantage of more lenient divorce grounds in other
legal systems, obtained ex-parte decree of divorce in the foreign country through
fraudulent representations and/ or behind her back, without her knowledge, after she
was sent back or forced to go back to India or even while she was still there.
Woman who was denied maintenance in India on the pretext that the marriage had
already been dissolved by the court in another country.
Woman who approached the court, either in India or in the other country, for
maintenance or divorce but repeatedly encountered technical legal obstacles related
to jurisdiction of courts, service of notices or orders, or enforcement of orders or
learnt of the husband commencing simultaneous retaliatory legal proceeding in the
other country to make her legal action
Woman who sought to use criminal law to punish her husband and in-laws for dowry
demands and/ or, or matrimonial cruelty and found that the trial could not proceed
as the husband would not come to India and submit to the trial or respond in any
way to summons, or even warrant of arrest
Woman who was herself or whose parents were held to ransom for payment of huge
sums of money as dowry, both before and after the marriage, her continued stay and
safety in her husbands country of residence depending on that.
Woman who reached the foreign country of her husbands residence and waited at
the international airport there only to find that her husband would not turn up at all.
Woman who was abandoned in the foreign country with absolutely no support or
means of sustenance or escape and without even the legal permission to stay on in
that country.
Woman who learnt on reaching the country of her NRI husbands residence that he
was already married in the other country to another woman, whom he continued to live
with. He may have married her due to pressure from his parents and to please
them or sometimes even to use her like a domestic help
Woman married to NRI who was abandoned even before being taken by her husband
to the foreign country of his residence after a short honeymoon he had gone back,
promising to soon send her ticket that never came. In many instances the woman

would already have been pregnant when he left and so both she and the child (who
was born later) were abandoned. The husband never called or wrote and never came
back again. The in-laws who could still be in India would either plead helplessness or
flatly refuse to help

Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as
socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. It is one of crime against
women which is linked to their disadvantageous position in the society. With varied
forms of domestic violence such as mental, economic, sexual abuse and physical
abuse desertion of married women by their Non-Resident Indian (NRI) husband is an
emergent, unique form of violence against women. The problems of women being
deserted by their NRI husbands which were earlier restricted to isolated cases has
now become a major social problem. The issues of NRI deserted women are of recent
origin and because of its sensitive nature and family influence, no concerted efforts
have taken place. Moreover, these women do not speak about the violence or crimes
they have been subjected to, because of social stigma attached to the divorced or
deserted women. Besides, they want to protect their family life.
The study of this paper is confine to the problem and remedial measures to eradicate
this new form of domestic violence with some suggestion to provide justice to the
victims of desertion
2.Meaning of NRI Marriages
Even though this is a gender neutral term, typically the NRI Marriages, as generally
understood, are between an Indian woman from India and an Indian man residing in
another country (thus NRI Non Resident Indian),iii either as Indian citizen (when he
would legally be an NRI) or as citizen of that other country (when he would legally be
a PIO Person of Indian Origin).iv
3.Factors responsible for the desertion of Married Women
In the lure of sending daughter abroad, the parents committed to pay huge sum of
money as dowry, both before and after marriage, when they failed to give the
desired money. Their daughters are deserted or divorced by NRIs.
Families sometime totally ignore even the common cautions that are observed in
traditional matchmaking.
The women who went to her husbands home in the other country only to be
brutally battered, assaulted, abused both mentally and physically, malnourished,
confined and ill-treated by him in several other ways. She is therefore either
forced to flee or is forcibly sent back.
When woman come to know on reaching the country of her NRI husbands
residence that he was already married to another woman, whom he continued to
live with.
When women after her marriage come to know that her NRI husband had given
false information of his job, immigration status, earning, property, marital status

and other material particulars, to con her into the marriage.

Following are some of the common instances of the issues that arise in NRI Marriages
because of existing flaws of family laws.
In India the absence of uniform civil laws and the abundance of personal laws of
various religious communities make matrimonial disputes extremely difficult to
deal with.
NRI bridegrooms walked out of marriages without fearing the law in the absence
of proper laws in India to protect the right of woman married abroad.
Lack of effective and authentic family laws to deal with matrimonial disputes
occurred between spouses when though citizens of India and married in India as
per Indian laws, but are outside the jurisdiction of the courts of India.
Legal recourse is difficult, time consuming, expensive and complicated. Despite
the Family Court Act, 1984,xix most state governments did not bother to frame the
rules and setup family courts.
The most conspicuous disturbing trend, however, appears to be the easy
dissolution of NRI marriages by the foreign courts even though their
solemnization took place in India as per Indian laws. The NRI husband usually
manages to get divorce from the courts abroad without the knowledge and
consent of his defenceless spouse by presenting false information and fake
documents. In many cases such wives were even deprived of maintenance
allowances from her husband.
The marriages are not governed any more by only the Indian legal system but by
the far more complex private international laws involving the legal system of the
other country too, which makes the situation of these deserted women more
There are issues like inter-parental child abduction, inter-country child adoption
etc. But practically there is no law on the subject which further added the
miseries of females whose kids are kept by the husbands in some cases.
Some time women denied maintenance in India on the pretext that the marriage
had already been dissolved by the court in another country (Provision of Section November, 2012 Vol 1 Issue 9
Page 465
19 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 could also be looked into
in order to make it applicable in case of deserted daughter-in-laws).xx
Thus, there is a need to address the flaws in law to resolve the problems of deserted NRI
married women.

7.Y. Narsimharao And Others Vs. Y. Venkatalakshmixxi

Both husband and wife were married in India under the Hindu Marriage Act. After the
marriage the husband went back to USA and obtained a decree of divorce from the State
of Missouri. The husband alleged to the court that he was resident of State of Missouri

for 90 days preceding the institution of the petition and obtained a divorce decree on the
ground that the marriage has been irretrievable broken down. The Supreme Court of
India held that both on the issues of jurisdiction and on the ground on which the foreign
decree was passed were not in accordance with Hindu Marriage Act under which the
marriage took place. The Supreme Court, therefore, held that the decree was not
enforceable in India.
In this case the court lay down a golden rule that has been repeatedly followed and relied
upon in subsequent cases:
The jurisdiction assumed by the foreign court as well as the ground on which the
relief is granted must be in accordance with the matrimonial law under which the parties
are married. The only three exceptions to this rule were also laid down by the court itself
as follows:
where the matrimonial action is filed in the forum where the respondent is
domiciled or habitually and permanently resides and the relief is granted on a
ground available in the matrimonial law under which parties are married;
November, 2012 Vol 1 Issue 9
Page 466
where the respondent voluntarily and effectively submits to the jurisdiction of the
forum as discussed above and contests the claim which is based on the ground
available under the matrimonial law under which the parties are married;
where the respondent consents to the grant of the relief although the jurisdiction
of the forum is not in accordance with the provisions of the matrimonial law of
the parties.

In Smt. Neerja Saraph Vs. Shri Jayanti Vs. Saraph,xxii the Supreme Court held that
although it is a problem of private international law and is not easy to be resolved, but
with change in social structure and rise of marriages with NRI, the Union of India may
consider enacting a law like the Foreign Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act,
1933 enacted by the British Parliament under Section 1 in pursuance of which the
Government of United Kingdom issued Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgements (India)
Order, 1958.
The court recommended that feasibility of a legislation safeguarding interest of women
may be examined by incorporating such provisions as:
no marriage between a NRI and an Indian woman which has taken place in India
may be annulled by a foreign court.
provision may be made for adequate alimony to the wife in the property of the
husband both in India and abroad.
the decree granted by Indian courts may be made executable in foreign courts
both in principle of committee and by entering into reciprocal agreement like
section 44A of the C.P.C. which makes a foreign decree executable as it would
have been a decree passed by that court.
Right to approach court for injunction or interim order against the husband
travelling abroad or taking the children abroad (including impounding of

In Smt. SeemaVs. Aswini Kumar,xxiii Supreme Court vide its judgement dated
14.02.2006 has issued the directions that the Central and State Governments shall take
the following steps:
Marriages of all persons who are citizens of Indian belonging to various religions
should be compulsory be registered in their respective states.
The procedure for registration should be notified by the respective states within 3 November, 2012 Vol 1 Issue 9
Page 467
Thus, it is now incumbent upon the states to provide for registration of marriages
which needs to be implemented in case of NRI marriages taking place in India.
Also marriage certificates for NRI marriage should be issued in duplicate copies
and must carry social security number of the NRI spouse.

9.Suggestions And Recommendations

Some suggested solutions which emerge from the study are following:
The Registration of girls marriage with the NRI under the Hindu Marriage Act
with other respective Marriage Act in other religions should be made
November, 2012 Vol 1 Issue 9
Page 468
compulsory. The Government should setup an agency to undertaken the
compulsory registration of all inter country/NRI/foreign marriages.
Ex-parte divorces taken by NRIs from courts abroad should not be recognized or
legally binding in India. The Central Government should bring legislation on the
lines of recommendations of the Apex Court.
The Indian government should enter into bilateral agreement with countries
having a large Indian diaspora to take criminal action against offenders on the
basis of reciprocity, especially Section 44A of CPC and Section 3 of Maintenance
Orders Enforcement Act of 1921 and Section 13 of CPC. Such agreement would
enable recognition and enforcement of foreign divorce decrees, maintenance
orders, child custody and other foreign orders.
Only enacting appropriate NRI laws, making corresponding procedural rules to
implement them and vesting authority in competent court to adjudicate NRI
disputes will provide an effective remedy.
NRIs will be protected to extradite because India is not member of the Hague
Conference on Private International Law.
There is need to examine the feasibility of invoking the provisions of Extradition
Act, 1962. Section 20 provides for return of any person accused of or convicted
for an extradition offence, from foreign country to India.
Police and judiciary needs to be sensitized towards this serious social issue of
desertion of married women by NRIs. This would go a long way in providing

support and humanitarian treatment to victims and ensure speedy judgements of

such cases of violence against women.
Media can also play an important role by highlighting adverse effect of marrying
NRI in a hurry without adequate verification as this could lead to perpetual social
and economic poverty.
There is need to examine the feasibility to recognize Irretrievable breakdown of
Marriage as a ground for divorce subject to safeguards.
Creating a NRI commission, constituting NRI cells, deputing designated
authorities for NRI problems and forming special NRI committees are not the
solution without having statutory sanctions.
The importance of antecedent verification, awareness of womens matrimonial
rights, maintenance rights, dowry law and information about passport and visa November, 2012 Vol 1 Issue 9
Page 469
procedures should be made available and regular awareness campaigns should be
conducted to make people aware of these frauds.
The strict legal measures need to be taken to provide relief to the married women
deserted by their NRI husband(s).
The parliament is in dire need to enact new laws or amend existing laws to define
the NRI problems and prescribe solutions. One single comprehensive legislation
on matrimonial issues is demand of hour, which if ignored will affect numerous
lives in country.
10.Sum Up
Walk-in marriages and walk-out divorces are very common and acceptable in western
world. But for Indian girls, facing such a situation is very difficult. From the above study
it has been observed that desertion of NRI married women in India and the victims of
domestic violence by the husband in other countries need immediate attention from
policy makers, government and legislations to protect their rights. By enhancing the
status of a married women through her entitlement to right of maintenance, right of
inheritance and right of equal share in the property of her-in-law/husband by way of
statutory provisions will bring about not only evolutionary but also revolutionary
changes, which alter her status from a socio-economic liability to a socio-economic


1. Compulsory Registration of Marriages Registration of marriages be made
compulsory the Supreme Court in Transfer Petition(C) No 291 of 2005 Smt Seema
Vs Aswini Kumar, vide judgement dated 14th February 2006 has issued the directions
the central and State Governments shall take the following steps.
Marriages of all persons who are citizens of India belonging to various religions

should be compulsorily be registered in their respective states.

The procedure for registration should be notified by the respective states within
3 months.
Thus it is now incumbent upon the states to provide for registration of marriages
which needs to be implemented in case of NRI marriages taking place in India.
Also marriage certificates for NRI marriages should be issued in duplicate copies
and must carry social security number of the NRI spouse.
2. Enact special Indian enactments to address the various issues that arise in NRI
incorporating progressive principles being evolved international on private international
law, as well as through the Indian judgments, especially the issues of validity of the
marriage itself and the choice of law of marriage and divorce that would be applicable
in case of disputes in such marriages, the jurisdiction of courts, validity, recognition and
enforceability of orders passed by foreign courts, particularly the ex parte divorces or
orders of custody or maintenance, powers of Indian courts to restrain legal proceedings
of the foreign court and/ or to pass contrary judgments in India in cross-actions;
service of notices, orders passed by the Indian Courts, dealing with criminal acts
committed by the husband and in-laws like dowry demands, battering and other forms
of matrimonial cruelty, fraud or misrepresentation, adultery/ bigamy, forcibly taking
away custody of or abduction of children choice of law/ forum, subjecting offender
to trial dealing with absconding, and enforcement of punishment, property rights of
the deserted or ill-treated wife and children, especially in ancestral or in-laws properties
in India.
3. It is not uncommon that the parents tend to feign ignorance regarding the whereabouts
of their son and disown the son, leaving the woman with no protection or shelter.
Therefore it is strongly recommended that the Property laws be amended to allow
the NRI wife to claim maintenance and share in parental properties expeditiously as
(10)also to claim rights of residence in their properties even if the NRI son has no share
in it legally, if the nexus between the parents and the NRI son can be shown and also
to invalidate any alienation or change in ownership of family properties after case is
filed by the NRI wife.
Provision of section 19 of the Hindu adoption and maintenance Act 1956 could also
be looked into to in order to make it applicable in case of deserted daughter in laws.
4. Amend if necessary the Passport Act and add special provision for cancellation of
passport of offending NRI spouse. Also include more detailed particulars of spouse in
passports apart from attaching her photographs. Also add provisions for requirement
of updating of passports of NRI men after marriage to include marital status, to make
a stricter offence for fake/false passport
5. Formulate guidelines for the police and law enforcing agencies to deal with cases/
complaints arising out of NRI marriages including suppression of marital status by NRI
Grooms, by using existing legal mechanisms and procedures such as initiating action
under Section 3 and other relevant provisions of the IPC/CRPC such as Section 188
of Cr.P.C, Section 82: Proclamation for person absconding ,CRPC Attachment of
(if any) in India (Section 83: Attachment of property of person absconding) initiating
action against the parents and relatives who refuse to or feign ignorance on the

whereabouts of their son, etc. Further in the event of initiation of any criminal
proceedings against the accused NRI husband or his relatives the provisions of section
285(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code can be put into action.
The guidelines for initiating action may also include application of Section 18 Hindu
Adoption & Maintenance Act, 1956 application for a stay on husbands property
whether in his name or ancestral properties and the right of the women to matrimonial
home which includes the right to reside with her in laws.
6. Examine the feasibility to recognize irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground
for divorce subject to safeguards
1. Special Cells be set up for NRI Marriages, at the state (where the problem is
serious) as well at the Central level, having representation from professionals like
lawyers and counselors and also having close cooperation with the National/State
(11)Womens Commission , to facilitate flow, legal assistance, and other necessary action
on prompt basis from a single window.
2. A Special Cell be set up with Indian embassies, especially in target countries, to
provide crisis assistance, legal support and information as well as all other support to
Indian women abroad as well as in India.
3. There should an online access to information on the laws and procedures and support
services in other countries that an NRI wife may need to know. For this relevant laws
of these countries will have to be compiled and if necessary translated into at least
English, if not in important Indian languages, to begin with
4. Networking and tie-ups with agencies (including the Indian embassies, foreign
bodies, police and support services) abroad to advice and aid to women who are
stranded there or those who are facing legal actions by husbands there. Especially
provide facilities like extended Residence Permits to the NRI wife who wishes to stay
on for defending her case or any other valid reason, expeditiously issuing her visa for
visiting the other country if served with summons or notice from the courts of that
country in any legal action initiated by the NRI husband there.
5. Set up help lines to provide psychosocial counselling to wives and families who have
suffered in NRI marriages.

Fraudulent Marriage:- Before going into the details of Fraudulent Marriage let me explain
the general meaning of fraud in relation to crime against
women. Fraud means hiding something or giving false impression about something
which a person knows that knowing the fact may harm his prospective marriage.
The scope of fraudulent marriage has increased in the recent past as in India parents of a
girl are very fond of NRI son in law. Parents want to settle
their daughter with any rich NRI. Parents of brides dont inquire too much about the NRI
groom as they are happy that their daughter is going to marry

a rich person who will fulfill her all demands and she will live a luxurious life in abroad.
There blind faith on NRIs may invite problems like false
commitments, false details, second marriage and infertility. This is not necessary that
fraudulent marriages only took place in case of NRIs even Indian
grooms also do the same for money or for boy child or for any other reason
Abandoned and divorced: The NRI pattern | Features | Women
By Shamita Das Dasgupta
Two out of 10 NRI marriages reportedly end with the wife being abandoned. India has no
laws that protect wives whose NRI husbands get ex parte divorces
and custody of children. Will governments decision to issue two valid passports to
women marrying abroad help this situation?
In January 2010, the Government of India (GOI) Ministry of Women and Child
Development announced an unusual decision: it will issue two simultaneously
valid passports to married women who leave the country to live with their husbands in
foreign lands. The second passport would include information about
a womans NRI (non-resident Indian) spouse, serve as her proof of marriage, and be
deposited with the Indian Embassy/Consulate in the country where she
is being taken to reside. This unprecedented move is to protect women who are deserted
abroad by their migr husbands; men who disappear without a trace
after destroying their wives travel documents, making it difficult for the women to return
to India.
Although this indicates the governments concern about the issue, Indian women being
abandoned in a foreign country is only a small part of a much larger
crisis. An astounding number of NRI wives are abandoned not in a foreign country, but in
India itself. These are women who have never resided abroad, or
who have been brought back to India deceptively and/or coercively by their NRI
husbands and discarded without any legal or financial means.

Rajiv Tayal vs. Union of India and Others,xxiv is another judgement which shows that
wife also has an available remedy under section 10 of the Passport Act for Impounding
and/or revocation of the passport of her NRI husband if he failed to respond to the
summons by the Indian courts
For abandoned women, another serious problem is transnational child custody. After
coercing their wives to go back to the home country with the children,

NRI men in the US can secure ex part divorces and full legal custody of their children
by default (that is, if one parent or his/her legal representative
does not appear in court). Subsequent to being awarded custody, the men have lodged
abduction complaints against the mothers at the federal and state levels.
As a result, the women have been charged with international parental kidnapping and left
to deal with related warrants and the status of a fugitive from
law. With such complaints against them, the mothers have been effectively banned from
re-entering the US or face arrest and jail time upon re-entry. At
least in two known cases, the fathers have travelled to India and kidnapped the children
back to the US.
Transnational abandonment of wives is a particularly challenging issue because of the
legal complications it generates, the difficulties in arriving at
a just solution, and the complexities in dealing with cultural as well as legal expectations
of different nations. Unfortunately, the desertion of wives
and children has grown significantly in the wake of increased mobility of Indian workers.
As Indian men and women migrate to foreign countries, the enjoyment
and infringement of their rights occur in transnational spaces that is, spaces that extend
beyond national boundaries and encompasses psychological,
legal, emotional, cultural, and economic areas spanning different nations. Due to such
straddling of boundaries, special issues and problems arise for
individuals and families who live in transnational domains. Changes in international
advocacy, law and policy are required to ensure justice and a viable
life, especially to women in this situation.

The pattern of NRI wife abandonment falls into three types: (a) a woman who is residing
with her husband in a foreign country suddenly finds her husband
has disappeared leaving her in the lurch; (b) a woman who has been residing abroad with
her husband is either deceptively and/or coercively taken back
to India and left there without her passport, visa, and money and thus without any way of
rejoining her husband; and (c) a woman who is married before
her husband migrates to a foreign country but is never sent sponsorship for a visa to join
him. Alternatively, a man who is already living abroad may return
to India to marry and then leave with promises to send for his bride. However, the visa
papers never arrive. Since a large number of such marriages take
place hurriedly, mostly when men come back to India for a visit, the women have been
popularly labelled holiday brides.

NRI Divorce

There is a growing trend among Indian men and women to get married to NRIs. The
desire to settle in a foreign country for better quality of life inspires
Indians to tie knots with NRI brides and grooms. The statistics show that 225 women
from metros get married to NRIs every year, and out of this almost
25 are either deserted by husbands or want to end their marriage due to reasons of
deception or hiding facts. In light of this it is very important for
Indians who get married to NRIs to be aware of laws related to NRI divorce.
Most of the Indian females are crazy about getting married to NRIs. Their parents also
want to marry off their daughters to foreign based Indians who can
provide a better quality of life and home. The parents are ready to churn out any amount
of cash for foreign based grooms. They spend huge money in wedding
as well as giving dowry to the boys family.
However, many of such marriages end in divorce. Some common situations that lead to
NRI divorce are:

The NRI spouse already has another spouse, and in some cases children also,
settled with him abroad. In most of the cases the groom does not
take the bride with him leaving her behind with parents. But when the reality is disclosed
the girls family seeks divorce for their daughter.

The NRI spouses inflate their possessions in the foreign country - home, vehicle,
high paying job, but actually might not be in a position to
support a family after marriage.

The lifestyle of the NRI spouse is too much advanced for the Indian spouse to keep
pace with him or her. The NRI spouse feels that he or she
is not suitable as a partner and seeks divorce on the grounds of incompatibility.
A person who has married an NRI, seeking divorce should be aware of the basic laws
related to NRI divorce.

If both the spouses are Indians and have been married under Hindu marriage Act,
1955 then they can seek divorce with mutual consent under section
13-B that provides for divorce by mutual consent.

If both the spouses are residing in USA, or any other foreign country, then they can
seek divorce by mutual consent under the countrys divorce
laws related to foreign marriages. The Indian legal system will recognize the divorce only
if it is with the consent of both the parties.
There are not many laws that protect the interest of Indians married to NRIs. However,
due to rise in the number of troubled marriages among Indians and
NRIs, the government is initiating non- government organizations in India and abroad
which can guide Indian men and women who are married to NRIs and residing

abroad. They offer counseling, legal advice, and moral support in the event of divorce
and separation. Even if the divorce is taking place abroad, it would
be good to appoint an attorney who is proficient in dealing with Indian divorce laws
related to NRIs.

Rekha SohalRekha Sohal, 26

Married to Vishal Sutti, 29, in 2006; has a four-year-old son. Deserted by Sutti, who left
for Manila, Philippines, in 2007, while she was pregnant. He
returned in 2008 and took her to Manila only to abandon her and flee to the US in August
2009.Rekha filed a case for maintenance in 2010. In March 2011,
she got the Jalandhar RPO to revoke Sutti's passport. Women have been found to have
been forcibly sent back by their husbands or held to ransom for dowry
demands. There are also several cases where victims weren't picked up at the airport upon
arrival in a foreign country. Some were slapped with abduction
charges if they returned with their children, according to a background note jointly
prepared by NCW and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in February
2011. Many victims, says the note, have found that their husbands were either already
married in the foreign country or gave false information about their
jobs and immigration status.
The NCW note also states that some of the husbands have taken advantage of lenient
laws in foreign countries to obtain ex parte divorces from overseas
courts to deny maintenance to women dumped in India. NCW has received several
complaints from countries, including US, UK, Australia, Thailand and UAE,
of abandoned Indian women without proper immigration documents