All NRI marriages solemnised in India would need to be registered within seven days, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said on Thursday. If the NRI marriages are not registered within seven days, the passports and visas would not be issued. Last week, Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi had said that the NRI marriages would need to be registered within 48 hours.
The decision for mandatory registration of marriages within seven days was taken yesterday after a group of ministers – Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, met to map out legal solutions for redressing the issues faced by women in NRI marriages. Officials at the ministry said that the discussions were held for enumerating fine details on ways to resolve the issues related to NRI marriages.
Another proposal discussed was holding the properties of NRI offenders in escrow in case they abscond abandoning their spouse. 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. The official said the move would require amendment of three legislations- Code of Criminal Procedure, Marriage Act and the Passports Act. The three ministries were asked to formulate a draft legal amendments to give effect to decisions taken at the meeting.
As of now, there is no time frame to register marriages in India. However, a Law Commission report has recommended that the time limit to register marriages should be restricted to 30 days after which a penalty of Rs 5 per day could be imposed. 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 Non-Resident Indians (NRI).
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 MHA, for keeping a watch on arrival or departure of NRI husbands and preventing them from leaving India, the ministry had said.