Law Commission Proposes Mandatory Registration for NRI-Indian Citizen Marriages to Combat Fraud

In an effort to tackle the increasing instances of fraudulent marriages between Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Indian citizens, the Law Commission of India, led by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, has put forth a recommendation for the compulsory registration of such unions within the country. Submitted to the Ministry of Law and Justice on Friday, the Commission’s report highlights a concerning trend of deceitful practices, including abandonment and misrepresentation, that have left many Indian spouses, particularly women, in vulnerable positions.

The Commission’s recommendations extend beyond mere registration. It calls for comprehensive legal provisions covering divorce, spouse maintenance, custody and maintenance of children, and the process for serving legal documents on NRIs and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). These measures aim to provide a robust legal framework to safeguard the rights and interests of Indian citizens entering into matrimonial alliances with individuals residing abroad.

A notable proposition from the panel involves amendments to the Passports Act, 1967, necessitating the declaration of marital status. This would require the linking of spouses’ passports and the inclusion of the marriage registration number on both documents, ensuring transparency and accountability.

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Furthermore, the Commission advocates for the jurisdiction of domestic courts over disputes arising from NRI-Indian marriages. This move is intended to ensure that any issues can be resolved within India’s legal system, providing a fair and accessible avenue for justice to the aggrieved parties.

In addition to legal reforms, the Law Commission emphasizes the importance of raising awareness among the Indian diaspora. It suggests that the government engage proactively with overseas Indian communities through events and organizations, spreading knowledge about the new regulations and protective measures.

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