Passports of 25 NRIs who deserted wives to be revoked
NEW DELHI: As more women come forward to report abandonment by NRI husbands, the latest information available with the women and child development ministry shows that the foreign ministry, over the last few months, has moved to revoke the passports of at least 25 men against whom lookout circulars (LOCs) were issued. This will result in extradition of those abroad and ensure that those who are here are unable to leave.
It is learned that 33 lookout circulars were issued by agencies like police since January. Eight of these were issued by the integrated nodal agency which has representation from the WCD, foreign and home ministries.
In criminal matters involving NRIs, LOCs can be issued by the investigating agency in cognisable offences when the overseas husband is deliberately evading arrest or not appearing in the trial court despite non-bailable warrants and other coercive measures or there is the likelihood that he will leave the country to evade trial or arrest.
A large number of NRI matrimonial dispute cases remain pending on account of non-appearance of the perpetrator, jeopardising women and children’s future. To expedite action, the integrated nodal agency was constituted to work on issues related to NRI matrimonial disputes. The INA has been meeting at regular intervals since January. It is led by WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava and issues LOCs on the recommendation of the National Commission for Women after the latter scrutinises cases.
Data show that nearly 578 women abandoned by their NRI husbands have approached the NCW this year. Since 2009, NCW’s NRI cell has received over 4,000 complaints from women whose NRI husbands have left them.
Complaints have been coming from most states except the north-east. Delhi, Punjab, UP and Haryana figure among states with the maximum complaints. In 2018, the NCW received 76 complaints from Punjab, 74 from Delhi, 56 from Haryana and 55 from UP. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat, too, see substantial complaints.
NCW chief Rekha Sharma said women who complain were struggling and they wanted their husbands living in foreign countries to be brought back. “We need to step up deterrence from the outset by making marriage registration mandatory and bring in provisions to consider court summons as deemed served after the husband does not respond a stipulated number of times and declare him an absconder. Police also need to play a more proactive role in investigation,” Sharma said.
The NCW has sought the intervention of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj to consider measures to prevent NRI husbands, who have deserted their wives in India, from getting ex-parte divorce in the foreign country where they reside. “We have also apprised the WCD ministry of our concerns,” the NCW chief told TOI. WCD ministry officials said they had received a letter from the NCW and would look into it.