The number of overseas matrimonial alliances have increased owing to a rise in the population of Indian Diaspora. Consequently, the related altercations and disputes have also escalated comparably. Overseas Indians constitute Indian nationals who have migrated internationally for job, studies or the progeny of parents of Indian origin.
Overseas Indian marriages are subject to the same tribulations and tensions as any other nuptials, except the fact that such alliances are not governed only by the Indian legal system. They are bound by the national laws of the host countries as well as complex private international law.
Such marriages get wrought with composite issues like language barrier, remoteness and isolation of women in foriegn land, ignorance or little knowledge about the local law and security system, financial constraints and limited or no support system to fall back upon in cases of exploitation, abuse or totrure.
The most commonly reported cases that are of critical nature in overseas marriages are physical abuse or abandoning of women by their NRI husbands. The stranding may follow a fraudulent marriage where the woman is taken to the foreign country but is either sent back or forced to take to her heels within a year. Dowry demands, hidden prior marriages, and physical abuse are the most commonly reported reasons for marriage disputes in such cases.
Other problems faced by women in overseas marriages often include false information provided to the woman and her family regarding the spouse’s earning, property, divorce related legal impediments owing to the inexperience vis-a-vis the jurisdiction of courts in the particular country, etc. Recently cases of harrying Overseas Indian husbands have also been on the rise hence, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is vigilant and alert against the misuse of laws in such circumstances.
In the light of such events and a surge in the complaints, grievances and petitions pertaining to marital issues received by the MEA Ministry from Indian nationals married abroad, the Ministry has taken steps towards their empowerment. Their knowledge base regarding the procedural nuances of the specific country’s legal system is being enhanced and supplemented with necessary information by the Ministry. This includes information regarding filing court cases, issue of summons, revoking/impounding passports, obtaining maintenance and child support, etc.
In addition to this, legal and monetary assistance is provided by the Ministry to married Indian women overseas as a part of a special assistance scheme in 51 nations with the help of NGOs and lawyers empanelled with Missions there. Assistance is provided on matters like redressal from foriegn courts regarding refurbishment of conjugal rights, custody of children, domestic violence/abuse, etc.
To discuss such issues and deliberate further on the international marriage rights the Parliamentary standing committee for the MEA has decided to hold a meeting on Wednesday. Two of the earlier meetings had already been shelved owing to the lack of quorum and demands for discussions on other issues like border confrontations with China, and Nepal, job losses due to coronavirus pandemic and start-up capital infusions.