Indian Government on Marriage to Foreigners
BY: STAFF CORRESPONDENT
Feb 19, NEW DELHI, INDIA (HPI) The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is organizing a day-long National Consultation tomorrow at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, with a view to working out strategies to address the problems arising out of marriages of Indian woman to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and to build necessary safeguards. The Indian Society of International Law, Department of Women & Child Development, National Human Rights commission, National commission for Women and number of representatives from NGOs and other concerned organizations are partners in this endeavour.
By and large we in India have a rather typical fancy for the word "Foreign." Going to foreign countries is seen as "ticket to prosperity." In marriages also a sizeable section of our population looks forward to marrying to NRIs or going to foreign countries taking marriage as a route. But for many, this is a very deceiving affair and very often a significant number of Indian women are made to suffer, in many ways, after such marriages.
Some typical instances of such frauds are: 1) Abandonment of woman married to an Overseas Indian even before the woman is taken to the foreign country of her husband's residence. After a short honeymoon, the man leaves, promising to send a ticket soon. Most likely, the woman is already pregnant when he leaves. So both she and the child are abandoned. 2) Woman reaches the foreign country's airport only to realize that her husband would not show up at all. 3) Woman goes to the foreign country but she is sent back or forced to flee. She is not allowed to take her child (ren) along. In many cases, the child (ren) is/are forcibly abducted from her. 4) Woman goes to the foreign country only to be brutally battered, assaulted and abused both mentally and physically, malnourished, confined and ill-treated in several other ways. 5) Woman learns later that her Overseas Indian husband had given false information about his job, immigration status, earning, property, marital status and other material particulars, etc.
The Ministry is working on a two-pronged strategy - preventive and curative. As a preventive measure it is planned to undertake a widely publicized awareness campaign about the need to verify the antecedents of prospective NRI bridegrooms and their parents, their employment/marital status, earlier marriage/divorce and financial position etc.
The curative measures would include legal assistance, counseling through our Missions/NGOs, etc. The main concern of discussion will be to work out guidelines for helping the prospective marriage all iance seekers as well to those already married to NRIs to remain internally vigilant, verification of antecedents and documents, adopting the right procedures, knowledge of the legal and matrimonial rights of the woman, maintenance rights, rights of custody of children, provisions of Dowry Prohibition Act, legal provisions pertaining to dowry deaths and last but not the least some useful information and knowledge about the passport and visa procedures.