//NRI marriages: NCW submits draft

NRI marriages: NCW submits draft

February 19, 2006 (New Delhi): The National Commission for Women (NCW) has submitted a draft for a fresh law for the compulsory registration of NRI marriages. There could be some light at the end of the tunnel for women like Alka. Last year, she married a prosperous Punjabi American but the marriage lasted barely two months. She was thrown out of her husband’s Los Angeles house after her family failed to meet dowry demands. Alka now wants her husband punished but this is not possible under the Foreign Marriage Act 1969. "We want to make this law more stringent. Those guilty of such acts of fraud have to be punished severely," said Vyalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Affairs.

Marriage registration — Currently, the government has no idea how many women have been dumped by NRI husbands as marriage registration is not compulsory. But according to the NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas, Delhi alone reports an average of 450 such cases every year. The NCW has now submitted a draft for a fresh law, which is under the consideration of the Ministry of Overseas Affairs. Its main features include:

  • Compulsory registration of NRI marriages
  • A gender cell in the Ministry of External Affairs
  • A dedicated cell also in embassies like the USA which report maximum NRI marriages
  • Provision for deportation

"The situation is getting worse. We need a fresh legislation to give more legal teeth unless some urgent steps are taken. The situation could worsen in states like Punjab," said Girija Vyas.The proposed legislation has to be a comprehensive one as there are complex issues like extradition. Law breakers are often not subject to Indian laws but till such time such a law takes shape, hundreds for NRI women will be at the receiving end