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Posted at: Jun 15, 2018, 12:09 AM; last updated: Jun 15, 2018, 12:09 AM (IST)

NRI grooms holiday over?

A step to save brides from sham marriages
NRI grooms holiday over?
In a small but significant step to contain the menace of NRI grooms abandoning their brides soon after the wedding, compulsory registration within seven days of the marriage ceremony and updating of the marital status on their passports has been proposed. Giving teeth to the norm is the sword of revoking the passport for failing to register the marriage. Inundated by complaints related to ‘holiday marriages’ and moved by the sorry plight of deserted young women, at times even mothers with infants, the Centre had instituted an inter-ministerial panel to examine the issue. It is estimated that this appalling use-and-approach by the much sought-after NRI predators disguised as grooms has left behind over 20,000 deserted brides in Punjab alone. The women’s quest for justice as they chase the elusive cheats has taken a major socio-legal dimension; almost every village and town has to deal with at least one victim of polygamous suitors. Not surprisingly, Punjab was the first state to make the registration of NRI marriages mandatory.

The panel also covers a procedural loophole the deserters have been taking advantage of. When an abandoned bride lodges a complaint with the police, the embassy concerned is informed and it sends a summons notice. But the groom hoodwinks the law by moving to a new place or providing an incorrect address. Now, the Ministry of External Affairs will put up the summons on its website and such notices will be “deemed to have been served”. The panel is still studying the other tricky issue of bringing the grooms to book by attaching their property.

Women, weakened by callous husbands and subsequent dependence on their parents for financial doles, will now be able to draw strength from the new amendments in the passport and marriage laws. However, unfortunately, for their fellow-sisters married earlier, the legal battle for justice remains an uphill task. Liaison with foreign governments seems the best option to book the husbands of these hapless and dumped women — a difficult and complicated recourse, more so if the groom happens to be an Indian-origin foreign national.

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