NRI Marriage Registration: New Rules are on the Way

Attention NRIs! New NRI marriage registration rules are on their way.

Many Indian families have always dreamt of marrying their daughters off to an NRI (Non-Resident Indian). They always think that the other side is greener than ours. In such a dream, they fail to ensure that the marriage is a long and withstanding one. As many as 3,328 complaints were received by the Ministry Of External Affairs in the period of January 2015 to November 2017. To address this, Union has taken steps to make strict rules for NRI marriages.

Read on to find what the Government plans to change.

Which government body has instituted a change?

The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development has constituted an Integrated Nodal Agency (INA). This inter-ministerial panel was set up last year. The panel consists of ministers of various departments like external affairs, law, home ministry, women and child development, etc. The main focus of this agency is to focus on matrimonial disputes involving NRIs.

Related: Divorce Laws for NRIs: All You Need to Know

What changes has the INA proposed?

INA along with National Commission for Women (NCW) issued the recommendation for mandatory registration of NRI marriages solemnised in India within 7 days. Non- compliance of this will lead to non-issuance or revocation of passports and visas. During registration, the NRI also has to provide the following:

  • Passport details.
  • Social Security Number.
  • Residential Address of the NRI in the foreign country.
  • Office Address of the NRI in the foreign country.
  • Tax returns of the preceding 3 years.

Following registration, the NRI husband has to update his marital status on his passport.

Another proposal is the attachment of property of the NRI husband if he abandons his spouse. This attachment will be in the form of escrow. Escrow is a legal concept in which a third party holds a financial instrument or an asset on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction. However, this proposal is not final yet.

The panel has directed the respective ministries to prepare a draft of amendment bills to give effect to the decisions of the panel.

Which laws will have to be amended?

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.
  • The Passports Act, 1967.
  • The Marriage Act.

Related: Court Marriage Procedure in India

Which marriages relate to this new directive?

All marriages between NRIs and resident Indians solemnized in India have to compulsorily follow this new directive. All States have to send details of the NRI marriages to the Ministry concerned. This will help in the creation and maintenance of a central database.

What are the causes for issuing this directive?

  • Increase in NRI husbands deserting their wives in India.
  • Unilateral divorce by the NRI husband in the country in which he lives. (Ex-parte divorce)
  • Extra-marital relationships while the wife is abandoned in India.
  • Sending the Indian wife back home.
  • Taking custody of the child abroad depriving her motherhood.

Related: Conditions for a Valid Marriage in India

Will this step be a solution to all the NRI marriage-related issues?

This new law has the potential of resolving issues arising out of NRI marriages. The panel has decided to serve summons to the NRI husband on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs. Such notices will also “be deemed to have been served.”

This measure may be a boon to women in India but it does not prevent NRI men from taking steps outside India. However, look-out circulars are issued by the ministry to keep a watch on the arrival and departure of NRI husbands to prevent them from leaving India.

These issues have been existing even since the pre-independence India. Indian families should be careful while choosing a life partner for their daughters. The Ministry of External Affairs has issued a guidance booklet on marriages to overseas Indians. Please go through it before you decide any marital life decisions.

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