Mandatory marriage registration to rein in elusive NRI grooms

Mandatory marriage registration to rein in elusive NRI grooms

Registration of marriages will be made mandatory for all citizens across the country soon to check "marriage frauds", mostly by NRI grooms.

The Law Ministry proposes to amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 to provide for a countrywide legal framework to enforce compulsory registration of marriages.

The move primarily seeks to safeguard Indian women from "marriage frauds" committed by non-resident Indian (NRIs) grooms.

"The decision to bring such an amendment was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting recently. Law Ministry will send the amended bill to the (Union) Cabinet for approval soon," official sources told DH.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi held the meeting.

Frauds galore
Over the years, a number of such cases have come to the fore, where NRI men tied the nuptial knot in India and left the country, deserting their wives. Reports of NRI grooms dumping women on foreign soil after taking them abroad post marriage in India are also rampant.

A report of the National Commission for Women some years ago recorded about 1,300 such cases between 2005 and 2012.

In July this year, the Law Commission of India, in its report to the government, recommended making registration of   marriages compulsory across India by amending the Registration of Births and Deaths Act.

The report noted that several states, including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, have already made registration of marriages compulsory within their jurisdiction. However, absence of a central legislation  had  made it difficult to check cases of "marriage frauds".

"Non-registration of marriage affects women and children. Women are the main victims of bigamous relationships and property disputes. They face immense difficulty in establishing their marriage. In order to develop a sound and unified system of registration across the country, a central legislation is necessary," the Commission noted

Making registration of marriages mandatory will safeguard the future of married or divorced women in India. It will also check child marriages and trafficking of young girls "to any person, including foreigner, under the garb of marriage," the Commission added.

New portal
While the Law Ministry is giving a final shape to the amendment bill, sources said, Women and Child Development Ministry has mooted a special portal, which will serve as the central repository of the records of all marriages in India.

"Linking of marriage records with this portal will be made mandatory for all registrars of marriages in the country," sources added.

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