MEA Enlists Law Commission to Scrutinize Laws Around NRI Marriage


New Delhi: In a significant move, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has engaged with the Law Commission of India to examine and enhance the legal framework governing Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages.

Discussions between the MEA and the Law Commission aim to identify and rectify deficiencies within existing laws, particularly those contributing to issues such as abandonment and dowry, predominantly affecting NRI brides.

The Law Commission is in the preliminary stages of formulating a comprehensive framework to address challenges associated with NRI marriages, emphasizing the need to close loopholes exploited by wrongdoers. This involves a meticulous examination of procedural requirements within the judicial system, including a review of the 2019 bill related to the registration of NRI marriages and the Foreign Marriage Act.

Numerous complaints received by the MEA highlight marital problems faced by Indian women in NRI marriages, ranging from abandonment and communication breakdown to harassment and unilateral divorce.

While concrete data is elusive, a 2018 petition filed by eight women in India’s Supreme Court highlighted a concerning trend—over 40,000 wives reportedly deceived into marrying Non-Resident Indian (NRI) men. The petition shed light on the pervasive issue of fraudulent marriages, calling attention to the challenges faced by these women.

Government records reveal the gravity of the situation, with India addressing over 6,000 grievances related to NRI men from 2015 to 2019. These grievances encompass a spectrum of issues, including abandonment, communication breakdown, harassment, unilateral divorce, and delays in visa sponsorship. The substantial number of cases emphasizes the urgency of strengthening legal frameworks and support systems to protect individuals in NRI marriages.

As the government grapples with the complexities of these cases, there is a growing call for enhanced data collection and streamlined mechanisms to address the multifaceted challenges arising in the context of NRI marriages.

To provide support, the ministry, along with its Missions/Posts, offers counseling, guidance, and information on legal procedures. Walk-in sessions and open-house meetings specifically focusing on women’s grievances are conducted, utilizing MADAD and CPGRAM portals to handle these issues.

Additionally, 24×7 helplines for emergencies are maintained by Missions and Posts, extending assistance through various social media platforms. The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) offers financial and legal aid to distressed NRI women following MEA guidelines.

This collaborative effort reflects India’s commitment to address the complex challenges associated with NRI marriages, reinforcing legal safeguards and support systems for affected individuals.




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