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QUESTION NO.1609 INDIAN WOMEN DEFRAUDED BY NRI SPOUSES

March 16, 2017

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1609
TO BE ANSWERED ON 16.03.2017

INDIAN WOMEN DEFRAUDED BY NRI SPOUSES

1609. SHRIMATI VIPLOVE THAKUR:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government has received petitions from Indian women stating that their Non-Resident Indian spouses have defrauded by marrying them under false pretences;

(b) if so, the details thereof during the last three years and the current year, case-wise;

(c) the arrests, if any, made in this regard during that period;

(d) the number of persons undergoing trial during that period; and

(e) the constraints faced by Government in minimizing the delays in such cases?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(SHRI M. J. AKBAR)

(a) The Ministry has been receiving petitions from Indian women stating that their overseas Indian spouse has hidden the fact that he is already married or has a partner. Their petitions pertain to abandonment of the Indian woman by overseas Indian spouse either in India or in the foreign country after marriage.

(b) Details regarding seven petitions received during the last three years and current year in Ministry and our Missions abroad, are attached at AnnexureTamil.pdf

(c) The Ministry does not have data about arrests of overseas Indians in India on charges of defrauding Indian women, as this data is available with State Governments.

(d) Data about overseas Indians arrested in foreign countries for cheating Indian women is not made available to Indian Missions on grounds of privacy and confidentiality as per local law in those countries.

(e) Constraints faced by the Government in minimizing delays in such cases are:

i. When the aggrieved Indian woman files a case in India or in the foreign country seeking restitution of marital rights, serving judicial summons on the overseas Indian spouse becomes difficult as in most cases his address abroad is either incorrect or not known.

ii. When the overseas Indian husband is summoned to attend court proceedings in India, Indian Missions/Posts have no means for enforcing the order abroad, except when the foreign country accepts the request for mutual legal assistance.

iii. Revocation or impounding Indian passports of NRI husband is done by the Ministry only on the basis of a Court order to this effect.

iv. The NRI husband sometimes initiates proceedings for ex-parte divorce in the foreign country without giving his wife a chance to represent her position in the case.

v. Extradition Treaty can be invoked with several countries only in criminal cases. Cases filed by aggrieved Indian women under Section 498A of IPC do not meet the condition of dual criminality, which is essential for extradition of overseas Indian spouses.

Inspite of the above constraints, several steps were taken by Ministry to provide assistance to the aggrieved Indian women including the following:

a. Since the launch of Ministry’s Grievance Redressal Portal "MADAD” on 21 February 2015, 380 grievances under "marital disputes” category have been received, of which 298 have been addressed. In addition, during January 2016 to February 2017, Ministry received 644 petitions by post, email etc related to marriages to overseas Indians, of which 523 have been addressed. 62 grievances on the same subject were also received under CPGRAM, of which 60 grievances were addressed.

b. Under the Indian Community Welfare Fund, Missions provide legal assistance, shelter and boarding & lodging to distressed Indian nationals, including women abandoned or cheated by their overseas Indian spouses.

c. Under a scheme set-up by Ministry to assist such aggrieved Indian women, legal and financial assistance has been provided to nearly 87 Indian women if the husband resides in 13 countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Singapore, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). The amount provided enables them to initiate legal proceedings against the spouse, avail counseling and for sustenance.

d. Ministry is empowering the aggrieved Indian women by providing information and guidance about procedures, mechanisms for serving judicial summons on the overseas Indian husband; filing a case in Indian courts or police station; issuing Look out Circulars; impounding and cancelling of Indian passport of the husband; lawyers and NGOs empanelled with Indian Missions etc. The information is also available on Ministry’s website.

e. Many Indian Missions have designated ‘Open House’ meetings during which any distressed Indian national including women can approach Mission for assistance and guidance.

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