In this blog post, Shreya Shikha, a second-year student pursuing B.B.A LLB (Hons.) from Chanakya National Law University, Patna analyses the different issues involved in NRI marriages and what can one do if they face fraud or other problems.
Marriage is said to be a sacred institution but nowadays with an increasing number of divorces, it seems that it become just an institution and people behaviour are also very lenient toward it. If we talk about NRI marriages, it used to be dream come true experiences for many Indian families and many girls too. Many Indian families want to grab an NRI boy for their daughter for just to increase their status in the society. It is also a dream for many Indians girls to marry an NRI boy and then settle down in any foreign country. These are the reasons behind insane craze of marrying with an NRI boy.
But the problem one is facing now a day is the ever-increasing number of fraud and desertion in the NRI marriages. So let’s move towards the issue.
‘NRI marriages’ generally means a marriage between an Indian woman and an Indian man who is residing in another country,(NRI- non-resident Indian), either an Indian citizen (when he would legally be an ‘NRI’) or as citizen of that country (when he would legally be a PIO- person of Indian origin). The problem is especially related to Indian women who got married to an NRI boy and later she get trapped in deceptive matrimony with overseas Indians. The aggravated risk faced by women in such marriages is being ‘isolated far away from home in an alien land and facing tons of difficulties like language constraints, communication problems, lack of proper information about the local criminal justice, police and legal system etc. The problem incorporates issues like dowry and various other types of harassment of married women in foreign countries, concealment of earlier existing marriage by the husband before marrying an Indian woman. Another very important issue which arises is the social and monetary security of Indian woman in a foreign land. The situation gets worsened when she loses contact with her family and friends and end up helpless and stranded in a totally foreign land with nowhere to go.
The problem which may arise out of NRI Marriage:
- Many a time woman married to NRI may be abandoned even before taking her to the foreign land.
- If she went there, she is brutally harassed mentally and physically. Many a time NRI husbands malnourished ill-treat and confined them. All these torches are related to the demand for more and more dowry. They even ask for expenses of travelling and her stay in the place of residence in foreign from her parents.
- Examples are present where she may be abandoned in the foreign country without any support or means of bare sustenance.
- One of the major issues is the bigamy. After marriage, she comes to know about the bigamy by her husband, with whom he continued to live with in another country. He may have married her due to pressure from his parents and to please them or sometimes even to use her as a domestic help or to extract dowry from her parents.
- After marriage it comes out that NRI husband has given false information about his job, immigration status, earning, marital status and other material particulars, in order to cheat her to perform the marriage.
As per an NCW report, the maximum number of complaints relating to NRI marriages were registered from India followed by the US and Australia.
The Supreme Court had shown concerns regarding this through its judgment, in cases like Neeraja Sharaph vs. Jayant V. Saraph and has emphasised the need to consider legislative safeguarding of the interests of women and also suggested the following specific provisions:
- Marriage between an NRI and an Indian woman which has taken place in India may not be annulled by any foreign court.
- In the case of divorce, adequate alimony should be paid to the wife out of the property of the husband.
- The decree of Indian court should be made executable in foreign courts both on the principle of comity by entering into reciprocal agreements and notify them under section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code which talk about binding nature of foreign decree i.e.; it is executable as it would have been a decree passed by that court.
Precaution to avoid these problems
So, to deal with these issues, one should keep few things in mind as a precaution to avoid these problems:
- Verify these facts about the Groom before going for marriage.
Parents should verify various documents of groom before entertaining marriage. It is helpful to an extent to decrease the chances of fraud. These are few documents which one should verify and if possible then keep a photocopy that document.
- Visa, Passport
- Voter, alien registration card
- Social Security No.
- Tax returns of last 3
- Bank Account No., statements
- License No.
- Property Documents
- Marital Status
- Employment details (qualification, post, salary, address of the Office, employers and their credentials)
- Immigration Status(type of Visa, eligibility to take the spouse to the other country)
- Criminal antecedents
- Family background
- What precautions parents should take to decrease the chances of fraud NRI marriages and keep their daughters safe in a foreign land?
- Always go for registered marriage along with the religious marriage and keep adequate proof like photography, video recordings.
- Avoid hastily and secret wedding. Invite people in marriage so that more and more should know about it, later it also works as proof.
- Never agree for a place in the foreign country to perform marriage as may be laws of related to marriages and desertion are not favourable. In many cases, legal decree of Indian courts is not binding in many countries.
- Parents should make themselves primarily aware of the foreign country laws and the rights which one can enjoy mainly related to abuse or domestic violence.
- Open a bank account exclusively in the brides name of foreign residence which can used in case of emergency.
- Ensure that photocopies/scanned copies of important documents like marriage certificate, Visa, Passport, are kept handy.
- Always be ready with a safety plan in case of need
- Keep the certificate/photocopy of the marriage all the time with you.
- Try to arrange for a bank account for the bride in the foreign country to enable her to withdraw money in case of emergency.
- Keep contact details, emails ids of Police, State authority, helpline, Indian Embassy at the foreign land, Indian welfare officers, social support groups and try to memorise a few important no’s.
- Should have basic knowledge of the laws of the foreign country and the rights which one enjoy there and also protections provided to the victim of domestic violence or abuse.
- Try to be equipped with the professional/vocational qualifications and skills to be economically independent.
- Always keep in touch with the relatives and friends regularly and keep them updated about yourself.
- In any situation don’t give your passport or visa to any unauthorised person.
Several ministries like external affairs, law, overseas Indian affairs, WCD — and the NCW have raised the problem at various forums over the years. In 2008, a meeting of the ministries concerned, NCW and National Human Rights Commission decided that NCW would be the coordinating agency to process complaints of Indian women deserted by their Indian husbands abroad; the NCW has since 2009 been taking up victims’ cases with missions abroad. The counselling and legal services could be provided through credible Indian Women’s Organizations/Indian Community Associations and NGOs identified for providing such services and empanelled with the Indian Missions in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Gulf.
There’s a scheme of NCW for giving legal /financial assistance to Indian women deserted by their overseas Indian spouses. The primary objective of this scheme is to provide legal financial assistance to those women who are in need and have been deserted by their NRI/overseas Indian spouses. The assistance provided are limited to US $1500 per case and are released to the Indian community organizations/NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case against the deserted spouse. The women’s organization/NGO will deal with the issues like making efforts to enlist community advocates, preferably women advocates, to extend further legal assistance/ appearance in court etc on a pro-bono basis
A number of desertions and fraud cases are mainly from the northern part of India. So, to deal with this a website http://www.crimeagainstwomen.co.in & a helpline no-0181-2221645 is launched by Punjab government which is monitored by the Inspector General of Police and the victim women will be given justice in a time bound manner.
Relevant Address For Assistance
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
Address: Jaisalmer House, Canteen Block, Man Singh Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110011
National Commission for Women
Address: Plot No.21, FC33, 110025, Institutional Area, Jasola, New Delhi, Delhi 110003
Phone: 011 2322 2845
Email: [email protected]