Spotlight: Number of wives deserted by non-resident husbands on rise in India

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-04 18:33:05|Editor: xuxin
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by Pankaj Yadav, Jiang Lei

NEW DELHI, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- There has been a sudden spurt in the number of cases of married women deserted by their Non-resident Indian (NRI) husbands who live overseas and refuse to return for years.

Taking a strong exception of the ill-practice, the central government is mulling to frame strict laws in order to get such husbands deported back to the country and subjected to legal trial.

The country's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had recently said that the government would bring a bill to the parliament soon, as part of its efforts to check the menace of NRI husbands abandoning their wives. Passports of many such husbands have been revoked in the recent past in a bid to bring them back for legal trial.

"We have already launched an institutional mechanism, where you must have seen that 25 passports of such NRI husbands have been revoked. We are also bringing a bill in this session where some more measures are being taken against those husbands," the minister said.

On November 13 last year, the country's apex court the Supreme Court of India had also sought response from the central government on a plea seeking mandatory arrest of NRIs deserting their wives and harassing them for dowry, or any other reasons.

A three-judge bench of the apex court had issued notices to the central government on a plea, filed by deserted wives, seeking that the deserted women be accorded legal, financial help and their estranged NRI husbands be arrested after the filing of FIRs.

A large number of such deserted wives met in New Delhi to demand urgent amendments to existing laws and the need for trans-national linkages to bring back absconding husbands, reported the English daily "The Times of India" on Friday.

According to the newspaper, the Ministry of External Affairs had addressed as many as 4,189 complaints of distressed Indian women deserted by their NRI spouses between January 2016 and November 2018.

Xinhua spoke to a couple of such victims and gathered that in most cases husbands leave their wives back home never to return as they marry women in the countries they live in order to get that country's nationality or citizenship.

In some cases, fathers marry off their daughters to NRIs in an effort to ensure a "rich future" for them. Most of such cases are reported from the northern state of Punjab, as a large number of the families have at least one member residing overseas, particularly in countries like Canada, Britain, the United States, or Arab countries.

Parvinder Kaur, a resident of Ludhiana in Punjab, was married to one Binder Singh who deserted her after staying with her for a couple of months, and flew to Bahrain. Over the years, Parvinder ran from pillar to post approaching several government authorities to make sure her husband was deported back, but to no avail. Due to lack of proper laws regarding such cases, the government authorities and courts were not able to take any stringent actions.

The matter came to the knowledge of the ministry of external affairs, which took up the matter with the Bahrain government. Finally, Binder Singh was deported to India a couple of weeks back, immediately after which he was arrested and put to legal trial.

A large number of such matrimonial disputes and fraud cases remain pending in India on account of non-appearance of the perpetrator jeopardizing the future of women and their children. The NRI Cell of the National Commission for Women (NCW) and other concerned agencies are learnt to have been taking up complaints to expedite issuance of 'Lookout Circulars' and impounding of passports.