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Bill to counter exploitation by NRI spouses

Bill to counter exploitation by NRI spouses

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  • GS2 || International relations || Indian foreign policy || Indian diaspora

Why in news ?

  • In a bid to counter growing incidents of exploitation of Indian women by NRI (Non Resident Indian) spouses, the government has introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

What necessitated this?

  • The introduction of the Bill was necessitated by the Ministry of External Affairs due to numerous complaints received from Indian nationals, mostly women deserted or harassed by their Non-Resident Indian spouses. It is expected that the Bill will serve as a deterrent for NRI spouses, who use marriages as a tool of exploitation.
  • In 2018 – NRIs Deserting Wives Matter Of Great Concern, Says Delhi High Court. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao sought response of ministries of Law and Justice, External Affairs, Home Affairs and Child and Women Development as also the National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women on the petition filed by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC).
  • The plea mentioned the pattern of exploitation which include that the woman learns on reaching the residence of her husband in the other country that he is already married to someone else and continues to live with her. “Usually they marry Indian women due to pressure from his parents in order to please them or sometimes to use her like a domestic help,”
  • According to MEA data available in the form of Parliamentary questions, 3,328 complaints were received between January, 2015 and November, 2017 from Indian women who have been deserted by their NRI husbands.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that the Bill will create accountability and protect those who are trapped in fraudulent marriages and are abandoned by their spouses.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill is aimed at prevent victimisation of Indian nationals in fraudulent marriages.
  • The Bill will create accountability and protect those who are trapped in fraudulent marriages and are abandoned by their spouses.
  • According to the new Bill, a marriage between an NRI and an Indian citizen will have to be registered within 30 days from the date of marriage.
  • Necessary legal provisions have been created in the criminal code and the Passports Act, 1967, to initiate action against erring NRI spouses.

Facts for prelims : who is a NRI –

  • A NRI is a person residing out of India for more than 182 days in a year
  • NRI stands for Non-Resident Indian
  • NRI has an Indian passport
  • NRI can vote in Indian election