Marriages between NRIs/OCIs, Indian citizens must be registered: Law panel

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) The 22nd Law Commission, chaired by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi (Retd), has recommended that all marriages between Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)/Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) and Indian citizens should be compulsorily registered in India.

The commission said that there has been a rapid rise in legal issues arising out of inter-country marriages taking place between NRIs and foreign citizens of Indian origin on one hand and Indian citizens on the other.

In its report, the panel observed: “The rising occurrence of fraudulent marriages involving NRIs marrying Indian partners is a worrisome trend. Several reports highlight an increasing pattern where these marriages turn out to be deceptive, putting Indian spouses, especially women, in precarious situations. Deceptive practices like false assurances, misrepresentation, and abandonment are commonly associated with these fraudulent unions, causing distress to the Indian partners.”

It said that the inter-country nature of these marriages further intensifies the vulnerability, making it challenging for affected individuals to pursue legal remedies and support.

Pitching for a comprehensive central legislation, the commission said that the proposed law should include provisions on divorce, maintenance of spouse, custody and maintenance of children, serving of summons, warrants, or judicial documents on the NRIs and OCIs.

Also, the panel recommended that requisite amendments be introduced in the Passports Act, 1967 in order to mandate the declaration of marital status, the linking of a spouse’s passport with the other and mentioning of the Marriage Registration Number on the passports of both the spouses.

“The Government, in collaboration with the National Commission for Women and the State Commissions for Women in India and the NGOs and Indian associations abroad, should conduct awareness programs for women and their families who are about to enter into marital relationship with NRIs/OCIs,” the commission said.

The Centre in February 2019 introduced the Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indians Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha and the said Bill was referred to the Committee on External Affairs for examination and report submission.

The Ministry of External Affairs through the Ministry of Law and Justice requested the Law Commission of India to conduct an in-depth study of the law concerning inter-country marriage, including the NRI Bill, 2019.

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