New Delhi: To address the problem of NRI husbands abandoning their Indian wives and absconding from appearing in courts, the Centre has swept into action and is looking to initiate a crackdown on ‘absconding husbands’.
Property of NRI husbands could be confiscated if they desert their wives and not respond to repeated notices issued to them.
Union Women and Child Development (WCD) minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday said the government is considering crucial changes in the criminal law that will allow seizure of the property of NRI men for abandoning their wives.
As per reports, WCD ministry has said a person will be assumed that he is evading summons if he doesn’t appear after three notices have been served. The person will be treated as an absconder.
Reports quoted WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava as saying that enforcement agencies will be authorised to attach the property of such persons and their families. Srivastava said that the ministry has sought an amendment in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that will allow a summons hosted on the website of ministry of external affairs (MEA) to be treated as “deemed to have been served.”
“If three such notices have been served and the person does not appear, it will be assumed that he is evading summons and will be treated as an absconder. The enforcement agencies will be authorised to attach the property of such persons and their families. The MEA has already written to Ministry of Home Affaird (MHA) proposing the changes to CrPC,” Srivastava said at a press conference.
Currently, a woman has to file a complaint with police, which write to embassies. The embassy then tries to serve the summons.
According to reports, latest statistics show that the MEA has received 3,328 distressed calls from NRI wives between January 2015 and November 2017.
Earlier in January, the government’s nodal agency on NRI marital disputes sought revocation of passports of as many as 10 offenders.
The decision was taken after Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) Maneka Gandhi chaired the first meeting of the integrated nodal agency on NRI marriages, in January.
The WCD ministry tweeted “INA reviewed the 10 cases of revocation of passport request made by NCW (National Commission for Women), and the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) was asked to expedite action.”
The body constituted to look into complaints arising out of marital disputes of NRIs will be empowered to issue look-out circulars against absconding husbands, the ministry said.
In order to restrict NRI husbands abandoning their wives, the government will also collect data on all registered marriages.
According to reports, the WCD ministry has also asked the Law Ministry to make registration of NRI marriages compulsory, which will be done by amending the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.