Register NRI Marriages Within 48 Hours, Else No Passport: Maneka Gandhi

New Delhi: In an effort to implement stringent laws against Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) abandoning their wives in India, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said that all NRI marriages solemnised in India would have to be registered within 48 hours. Failing to do so will result in non-issuance or revoking of passport and visa.

“NRI marriages have to be registered within 48 hours, else the passport and visas would not be issued,” Maneka Gandhi at a press conference in the national capital on Wednesday.

This development comes amid an increased instance of look-out notices being issued against Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) abandoning their wives in India. The ministry issued six look-out circulars against NRI husbands in recent past.

“The ministry has recently issued six look-out circulars in such cases and in five cases, passports were revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs,” she said.

A meeting to iron out the details of the same will be held on June 11.

The WCD Ministry is currently in the process of issuing orders to the registrars that details of such marriages should be provided to it so that a central database can be maintained.

“The registrars would send the details of such NRI marriages to the WCD Ministry so that a central database can be maintained,” she said.

Baring Punjab, currently there is no time frame to register marriages in India. In Punjab, it is mandatorily to register NRI marriages.

The ministry had earlier constituted an Integrated Nodal Agency (INA) with representatives from the ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs and Law and Justice to look into matrimonial disputes involving NRIs.

According to the recommendation of the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the decisions taken in the INA, look-out circulars are issued as per criteria defined by the Ministry of Home Affairs, for keeping a watch on arrival or departure of NRI husbands and preventing them from leaving India, Gandhi said.

She said that a change in the statute by the Law Ministry allowing authorities to hold the properties of NRI offenders in escrow in case they abscond abandoning their spouse is awaited before the databases can be finalised.

Escrow is a legal concept in which a financial instrument or an asset is held by a third party on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction.

“That is where we are held up and hopefully it will be sorted out at a meeting on June 11 and once that is done, we can create ‘Lakshman rekha’ of safety for women who marry people who come from abroad,” she said.

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