47-year-old law can help distressed NRI wives

NRIwivesThe Law Ministry has informed the Rajya Sabha Committee of Petitions that the Foreign Marriage Act of 1969 has provisions to help women married to NRIs who face problems such as harassment abroad.

In most cases the NRI husband is already married and marries again in India, while in other cases the husband marries another woman abroad and abandons his first wife. Dowry abuse is also a problem Indian women face after marrying NRIs.

The committee had met to hear the Home Ministry and Law Ministry on a petition pleading for a solution to the problems arising out of marriage of Indian women with NRIs

Members who attended the meeting said most people are not aware of the existence of the law, that was in fact enacted to make provision for marriages of citizens of India who live outside India. The law also provides for matrimonial relief for the spouse.

The government has decided to set up a committee to formulate a standard operating procedure (SOP) to be observed when dealing with such cases.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi recently met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and asked her to constitute a joint committee to develop an SOP. Once that is prepared it will be shared with various Indian diplomatic missions abroad.