The Indian government is mulling to go tough on NRI (Non-Resident Indian) husbands harassing their wives while overseas and avoiding the brunt of law by not returning back to the country.
The government is currently contemplating on recommendations of a high-level panel constituted by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Earlier this year in May, MEA had constituted a committee to look into various legal and regulatory challenges faced by women deserted by their NRI husbands.
Among other recommendations, the panel is also recommending that cases of domestic violence be included in the scope of extradition treaties that India inks with other countries.
According to a report published in a prominent New Delhi based English daily, which cites a source leaking this news to them, the panel believes this will facilitate the extradition of NRI spouses to India for trial.
"At present, when it comes to desertion, domestic violence or dowry harassment cases, it is next to impossible to get the man to return for facing legal proceedings,” said the source to that English daily.
Two different ministries in government, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) are closely liaising on this issue under special directives from their Ministers, Sushma Swaraj and Maneka Gandhi respectively.
It is important to note that currently there is a provision under the Section 10 (3) of the Passport Act which allows impounding of passport of NRI husbands in case of a FIR or court directive.
However, this is seldom invoked in the absence of awareness and cumbersome process involved.
Now, with this provision, the government is aiming better awareness and swift actions against the perpetrator of domestic violence.
The panel has also recommended increasing the financial assistance provided by Indian missions to such women from $3,000 to $6,000.
The money is meant to help them avail of counselling and legal services in foreign lands, where they may not have adequate resources or connections.