The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has introduced a scheme to provide legal/financial assistance to Indian women deserted by their overseas Indian spouses. The assistance will be provided to Indian women who are victims of fraudulent marriages and deserted by their overseas Indian husbands or are facing divorce proceedings in a foreign country. The scheme has been launched in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Gulf where several such cases are being reported.

This was stated by the Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Smt. Renuka Chowdhury in a reply to a question by Smt. Mohsina Kidwai in Rajya Sabha today. She further stated that a Ministerial Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and having representatives from various central Ministries including the Ministry of Women and Child Development and State Governments was constituted to study the problems faced by Indian women deserted by their overseas Indian spouses and give recommendations. The important recommendations of the sub-committee are as under:-

„« All marriages solemnized in India should be compulsorily registered.

„« Litigations related to NRI marriages should be taken up in fast track Courts.

„« Whenever there is an ongoing litigation in a foreign court, the Indian bride¡¦s case should not go un-represented.

„« A vigorous information campaign may be launched to educate prospective brides and their families to take possible precautions before entering into marriage alliance with overseas Indians.

„« States/Union Territories should pass on information regarding Court Orders against NRIs to Emigration Authorities to prevent such people from leaving India against these orders.

„« Bilateral agreements may be signed with foreign countries to protect the victims of NRI marriages.

The Indian government scheme for giving legal or financial assistance to women deserted by their overseas Indian spouses is available for Indian citizens whose marriage was solemnised in India. It would be available in instances where the spouse has filed for divorce within five years of marriage or obtained an ex-parte divorce within 10 years of the marriage. The assistance is meant to meet the initial cost and incidental charges for documentation and filing of the case and is to be paid to NGOs or other associations empanelled on a list maintained by the government or the embassy. The government would provide a sum up to $1,000 which can be made available for deserted women living in India or abroad through credible women’s organisations and NGOs, which could provide the legal assistance.

Women’s associations and NGOs have been taking up the cases of women deserted or maltreated by their husbands while living abroad. But the case of a woman who is in India while proceedings for a divorce and child custody case are being held in a court in another country is even more distressing since there is no remedy available in Indian courts and the woman is not in a position to file a case in some other country.

She is also not in a position to get information about her husband if he moves to a new city or shifts to a new home. The legal aid agency SevA was set up by Peshawaria to provide free legal services for those in need, on matters pertaining to immigration issue and Indian matrimonial law.

Lack of information and plain ignorance of the simple steps taken to regularise their residency status in the US have often led to situations where immigrants find themselves on the wrong side of the immigration laws. As Peshawaria explained, a large number of people are not aware of their rights as immigrants in the US. Anuradha relied on her husband to handle all the documentation and later found herself in a situation where her son was taken away from her. She can now hope to see her son and expect some respite from the court in America.

(Shubha Singh is a writer on the Indian diaspora and international affairs. She can be reached at shubyat@gmail


  1. Shama said...
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    Shama said...
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    ( This blog is not just about the know how of gardening, its an attitude towards life)


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