Initiatives on Safeguards of Deserted NRI Women

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has brought out a guidance booklet on “Marriages to Overseas Indians” which contains information on safeguards available to women deserted by their NRI spouses, legal remedies available, authorities that can be approached for redressal of grievances. A pamphlet entitled “Thinking of the marriage of your daughter with an NRI?” has also been brought out by the Ministry highlighting the precautions to be taken before entering into marriage alliance. Apart from this, National Commission for Women (NCW), the coordinating agency at the National level for dealing with the issues pertaining to NRI marriages has brought out a pamphlet entitled “Problems Relating to NRI Marriages-Dos and Don’ts”. It describes the problems related to NRI marriages and suggests precautionary dos and don’ts for Indian women considering marriage to a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) or a Person of Indian Origin (PIO). NCW has also brought out a report on problems relating to NRI marriages, titled “The ‘No where’ Brides”.

Beside this, a scheme was launched in 2007 to provide legal /financial assistance to the deserted or divorced overseas Indian women through the Indian Missions/Posts. It was revised and the revised scheme came into effect from November, 2011. The scheme would be available to Indian women who have been deserted by their overseas Indian / foreign husbands or are facing divorce proceedings in a foreign country, subject to the following conditions:-

  1. The marriage of the woman has been solemnized in India or overseas with an overseas Indian or a foreigner
  2. The woman is deserted in India or overseas within fifteen years of the marriage; or
  3. Divorce proceedings are initiated within fifteen years of the marriage by her overseas Indian / foreign husband; or
  4. An ex-parte divorce has been obtained by the overseas Indian / foreign husband within twenty years of marriage and a case for maintenance and alimony is to be filed by her.

The scheme would not be available to a woman having a criminal case decided against her, provided that a criminal charge of Parental Child Abduction shall not be a bar if the custody of the child has not yet been adjudicated upon. The assistance will be limited to US$ 3000 per case in developed countries and US$ 2000 per case in developing countries and will be released to the empanelled legal counsel of the applicant or Indian Community Association / Women’s organization / NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case.

Marriages to Overseas Indians a Guidance Booklet


One thought on “Initiatives on Safeguards of Deserted NRI Women

  1. This is an interesting article that can be seen as either gender-biased or progressive. I think in an NRI marriage where the bride is following the NRI to a foreign country, it is most likely the woman who will suffer overseas after a divorce. For example, I have a Thai friend who followed her husband to England, where he worked in a restaurant. Eventually, her husband wanted a divorce. She begged him to at least take them back home where they could get a divorce in Thailand, but he refused and found a way to divorce her in England. As a result, she was left with no income, no family, and no support in a foreign country that she had come to in support of her former husband. Similar situations to this one must happen often to NRI wives, or there wouldn’t be an initiative to create laws to protect them.

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