Look-out circular against NRIs in matrimonial disputes

Women who have been deserted by their NRI husbands in violation of the Indian law can approach WCD for help.

The Union Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry has decided to issue look-out-circular in cases of NRI matrimonial disputes.

Women who have been deserted by their NRI husbands in violation of the Indian law can approach WCD for help.The ministry will get their cases examined by the National Commission for Women (NCW) and issue a "look-out circular" against such non-resident Indians (NRIs) in coordination with other Union ministries and law enforcement agencies to track such persons down abroad and bring them to justice in India.

An Integrated Nodal Agency (INA), under the chairpersonship of the WCD ministry secretary, has been constituted to take a final call on the victims' cases based on the recommendation of the NCW.

The ministry finalised a Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) on Tuesday for the INA and other departments concerned to help the victims of “marital fraud” by the NRIs.

Over the years, a number of cases have come to the fore where the NRI men tied nuptial knots in India and later left the country, deserting their wives. There have also been reports about the cases where the NRI's dumped Indian wife on the foreign soil taking them abroad after marriage in India.

An NCW report a few years ago took note of about 1300 such cases between 2005 and 2012.

“The SOPs will enable the women facing such disputes to seek redressal in a time-bound manner. Any women can now approach the ministry for the purpose of tracing her NRI husband by having a LoC issued,” WCD Minister, Maneka Gandhi said.

The INA at its meeting on Tuesday decided to issue a look-out circular for the first  5 cases pertaining to the NRI matrimonial disputes.

At its meeting, the INA also deliberated on the SoPs to streamline the process of dealing with the cases of NRI matrimonial disputes.

“The SoPs are also defining the responsibility of concerned authorities with specified timelines and would keep the women informed on the progress,” a ministry official said.

The government has been receiving complaints pertaining to frauds, abandonment, domestic violence, extra-marital relationships, ex-parte divorce, Indian families being duped of money after promising marriage. There have also been complaints about forceful or illegal retention of the child’s custody, non-payment of maintenance.

"A large number of NRI matrimonial dispute cases remain pending on account of non-appearance of the perpetrator jeopardising women and children's future," a ministry official said.

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