As Gillin and Gillin have said, “Marriage is a socially approved way of establishing family procreation”. The term NRI Marriage not only means Indian women from India marrying Indian men from a foreign country, but it’s also vise-versa. But usually, it’s this way, parents always prefer a perfect groom for their daughter and they try to fix the NRI groom as their infatuation towards anything foreign is insatiable. But not all NRI marriages have a fairy tale life. Sometimes they have to face some problems to lead a healthy marriage life. But sometimes some things are never meant together. In this article, I have discussed the common problem arises out of NRI marriage like Desertion, Domestic violence, dowry demand, ex parte divorce, helpless and hopelessness of the wife in the foreign nation and how Indian courts are taking measures to settle the problems arises out of NRI marriages and how one should do background checks of the NRI groom, etc.,
As to this quote says Marriage is a gift from the god and it’s divine. Keeping it intact on earth describes the quality of the marriage. Indians consider marriage has a sacred institution. In India marriage is a bond between two families rather than two individuals.
Two types of Indians settled in foreign countries,
1. People with the ambition to earn more money,
2. People with a dream just to settle in a foreign nation. It is the dream of every spouse to marry an NRI and settle in a foreign nation.
NRI- Non-Resident Indian means, Indian citizens inhabited in foreign nation i.e., Residing outside India for a combined total of at least 183 days in a financial year is considered to be an NRI. In this article, I have discussed the common issues/ problems relating to NRI Marriages and Legal Mechanism in place to solve the problems.
NRI Marriage – Meaning
“NRI Marriage” usually refers to the marriage between a woman residing in India and an Indian man inhabited in a foreign country.
Common problems in NRI Marriages
Not all NRI marriages are fairy tales, as normally how significant amount of women in India suffers from marriage, some or most women who married NRI husbands are also suffering. And these issues are increasing day by day. NRI marriages are not only for women, nowadays girls are competent enough to reside in foreign countries. But compared to men women are facing problems in NRI marriages.
Common problems are,
- NRI Bridegroom deserts his wife.
Indian women wedded to NRI husbands are deserted in India after their marriage. This usually happens shortly after the ‘Honeymoon’. He’ll head back to the country he’s residing, promising his wife that he will prepare necessary documents and send her the tickets. She’ll be waiting for him but he’ll probably be moved on. There’s a significant percentage of chance that the wife would be pregnant. Thus he’ll be abandoning both is a wife and the child (born later).
If somehow the wife manages to reach the foreign nation, she’ll be helpless and hopeless of how she’s going to find her husband.
- Domestic Violence
As serious domestic violence is to women married to men residing in Indian, it is more serious in the case of NRI marriages. In India, if a wife is subjected to domestic violence, she can somehow confide this with her parents, siblings, or even local police authorities. But imagine the situation of the women who are residing in a foreign nation. She leaves behind her parents and everyone who cares about her, to start a new life in a new country with the man she married.
But imagine, being subjected to cruelty in a foreign nation where she could not be able to confine with the people who care about her. Violence’s like assault, battery, mental and physical violence, lack of proper nourishing food. Sometimes her child will be forcibly taken away from her.
There she’ll be left with two choices either to run away from her cruel husband or to stay and bear the violence.
- NRI husband already married
There are many cases where the NRI groom who is already married will conceal the fact and marry an Indian woman. On reaching her husband’s house in the foreign she’ll come to know the truth. And there she’ll be performing duties as a maid. This is because the bride will be forced by her parents to marry the groom knowing he’s already married. This occurs when the parents are paid off by groom or borrowed money and unable to pay back the due or even worse, threaten to kill their loved ones.
- Dowry demand
The women will be held at ransom for the payment of dowry from her family. This will be frequent because Dowry is like corruption once you’ve started it there’s no stopping it. If the parents fail to meet his demands, she’ll be sent back home.
- Ex-Parte Divorce
One of the main problems in NRI marriages is uncomplicated Ex-parte divorce. Taking advantage of the foreign divorce system which is flexible in permitting divorce, bridegrooms can avail decree of divorce within a matter of days. But under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1976 Section 13B, it takes 18 to get a decree of divorce under mutual consent. NRI husbands getting a divorce through foreign law usually avoids maintenance. She has to fight for the maintenance of herself and her child.
In the case of Veena Kalia v. Jatinder N. Kalia1, theex parte divorce decree was obtained by the NRI husband in Canada. The Delhi High Court held that the decree of divorce was not valid and it does not disrupt the divorce petition filed by the wife in India. Moreover, the decree obtained by the husband could not also act as Res Judicata.
Legal Mechanism to solve the problem involved in NRI Marriages
- Conflict of Laws
Compared to western countries, Indian laws are more rigid. So, the NRI husbands residing in foreign countries make use of western laws to obtain a divorce to avoid Indian laws.
In the case of Anubha v. Vikas Aggarwal 2, the petitioner i.e. the wife of the NRI husband (Respondent) instituted a petition in India to live separately from her husband on the ground of cruelty, desertion. Meanwhile, the defendant instituted a petition to obtain a divorce from his wife in the USA. She approached the court to stop the proceeding and the court also passed an order to restrain the proceedings in the court in the State of Connecticut, the USA for 30 days. But the husband managed to get the decree of divorce from the USA.
But it was held by the Indian court that the decree obtained by the defendant from the USA is not valid, because both the petitioner and defendant got married according to Hindu Laws. The decree of divorce granted by the Connecticut Court was not enforceable in India. Because the dissolution of their marriage didn’t take place by the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, and the endeavors of NRI’s result is futile.
In the case of Maganbhai v. Maniben3, that a judgment of a foreign court creates estoppel or res judicata between the same parties provided such judgment is not subject to attack under any of the Clauses (a) to (f) of section 13 of the C.P. Code vide.
- Serving Summons
Serving to summon to the husband residing in foreign is a very difficult task. The wife would not know the residing and official address of her husband. These NRI husbands jump jobs quickly and it would be difficult to serve. Thus to make this easy, the Centre govt. has entered into Mutual Legal Assistant treaty (MALT), where the member countries are responsible to issue the summons, warrants, etc
- Look Out Circulars
To prevent the NRI’s departure to foreign countries, Look Our Circulars (LOC) will be issued to all the Airports, Harbors, etc.
LOC must be issued by an officer, not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India/ Joint Secretary in the State Government/ Superintendent of Police at the district level.
LOC is valid for 1 year and it can be extended upon request. But if there’s no request for an extension, it’ll be closed by the Immigration office after the expiration of one year.
- Custody of Children
According to Section 26 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the court will from time to time pass interim orders regarding the custody, as it may deem fit for the maintenance of the minor children, regularly as per the wishes of the children.
In the case of Ruchi Majoo v. Sanjeev Majoo,4the Supreme Court has ruled that in the matter of Child custody Indian Courts only have full jurisdiction even if the foreign court has passed an order.
- Registration of Marriages by NRI’s
The Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019 was introduced by the Ministry of External Affairs in Rajya Sabha. It mandates the registration of marriages of NRI’s within 30 days of marriage.
- Background check of NRI’s
Every parent must perform the necessary background check on the NRI’s who are going to marry your child.
These are few suggestions thrown in your way to give heads up,
- Check the marital status.
- Hire a Private Investigator
- Check the current employment, job history, etc
- Hold on to the copies of Adhaar Card, Passport, Social Security Number, Tax returns for the past 3 years.
- Address proof of the foreign residency., etc
- Do not marry in secret.
- Do not finalize matters without meeting the family.
- Do not trust middlemen or agents.
- Do not fall prey to fake schemes.
- Do not fabricate documents guaranteeing green card through marriage.
- Do not hesitate to come out if you’re faced with cruelty, desertion.etc
The Government over the most recent few years is working proactively to illuminate the emergency in NRI relationships and has encircled a draft bill for compulsory enrollment of relationships. The measure being taken by the government is significant yet there should be increasingly proactive methodology in coordination between the services at the national level and between countries at the worldwide level. Most of the NRI’s who assaulted their spouse, cheated, demanded dowry are educated, people. The responsibility lies on the parties to the marriage and their parents to give their children a peaceful life. Not only education is important, parents must teach their children about human values, how to treat everyone with respect and good marital life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What do you mean by NRI Marriage?
- How can I verify my NRI groom?
- How can I make a complaint against my NRI husband?
- Can NRI file for divorce in India?
- AIR 1996 Del 54
- 100(2002) DLT 682
- AIR 1985 Guj 187
- AIR 2011 SC 1954