Law on registration of NRI marriages within 30 days mooted

February 12, 2019

The Indian government has introduced a bill in the parliament to protect women married to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) from exploitation.

According to the provisions of the bill, it is mandatory for NRIs to register their marriage within 30 days in India or abroad. This will provide better enforcement of rights of the deserted spouse under various family laws.

Sushma Swaraj, Indian Minister of External Affairs, has introduced the ‘Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019’ in Rajya Sabha following complaints received from women deserted or harassed by their husbands. The bill proposes to offer greater protection to Indian women married to NRIs. It is an outcome of an initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice.

It envisages (i) Registration of Marriages by Non-Resident Indians; (ii) Amendment of the Passports Act 1967 and (iii) Amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973.

Similarly, the Amendment to the Passport Act will empower the passport authority to impound or revoke the passport if it is brought to notice that the NRI had not registered his marriage within 30 days.

The Amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 will empower the courts to issue summons or warrants through the specially designated website of MEA. It also has provisions for attachment of properties belonging to the NRI, if he does not appear before the court and is declared as proclaimed offender by the court.

Shiba Ray, an event organiser with a private sector company in Oman said, “I have read a media report that said at least one woman married to an NRI calls home every eight hours seeking help due to abuse or harassment. Being a mother of two daughters I support this move and I am sure every single woman will do so. At least this will deter the NRIs from abandoning their better halves.”

Haritha S, an IT executive in a private sector company said, “We talk of empowering women and this move is one of them. It should have been initiated long back but better late than never.”