BRIEF NOTE ON NRI’S BRIDE RESCUE/THEIR CHILDREN
In recent past, a new trend is being adopted by NRI husbands who come to India while marrying Indian Girls. Parents of these girls are very happy to find such match while their daughters shall be going abroad and happily, they tie up for such marriage bonds with the only hope that their daughters shall have a very bright future in the hands of such NRI husbands. But in reality, the position is quite reverse since NRI husbands have the underlying hidden agenda to marry, pocket sufficient and handsome dowry, physically enjoy with the bride and when they reach overseas, they start showing their true colours and start harassing such married girls. In various cases, they start demanding more dowry from helpless parents who now realize that they have committed the blunder nay the biggest folly of their lives in marrying their daughters to such greedy but professional cheats who come in the garb of grooms. They earnestly hope and pray to God Almighty to solve their problems. Even incases where children are born, their harassment starts as a marathon race of demands. When such uncalled for demands are not met, then they start coercive methods and adopt measures to cause endless torture to the harassed wives and their children.
MODUS OPERANDI NO.1
They start seeking divorce from foreign courts in UK and USA etc. As we know, UK courts are giving divorce to such mischievous husbands even on mere asking. By that time, such harassed wives are kicked out by NRI husbands and they are forced to come back to India to their unlucky parents. In the meanwhile, NRIs are successful in obtaining exparte divorce even though Indian Laws are applicable in such cases because the marriages are registered under the Indian Laws and consummated also during their stay in India but such wives are unable to fight the litigation by engaging lawyers/solicitor firms in foreign countries owing to their adverse circumstances and economic drawbacks since the cost of litigation is very high in foreign countries. Such mischievous husbands take the benefit of such circumstances and seek divorce. Not only this, children of such harassed wives are also like rolling stones because those husbands are successful in obtaining custody orders for children from their foreign courts.
Here in India, such harassed persons have to run around police stations to seek the custody of their children and neither the police protect the custody of such children nor help in obtaining or security such custody. Even the process of law does not move fast in comparison to the foreign courts.
It is strange that even after those harassed wives file cases under the Domestic Violence Act, Hindu Marriage Act or for seeking custody of children or maintenance, there is hardly any help coming from authorities in India.
What steps have been taken by the Government of India to protect such persons or to provide help in such sad plight of Indian harassed women and children?
Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs has opened “NRI Bride Rescue Cell” in the office of National Commission for Women, Rouse Avenue, New Delhi but still this help is merely on paper. Nothing positive has taken place to protect the said plight of “NRI Bride Rescue”.
“Just Married” couples turn into “Just Divorced Couples”.
Such mischievous husbands should be punished and justice be done to NRI Brides and their children.
In two years, 26 such matters have come to light in Gurgaon alone.
If we see in NCR, more than 1000 cases have been registered.
Even the police is hesitant to register such cases because they know very well that they cannot do anything. In India, normal divorce petitions take lot of time to decide but in foreign courts, there are no such strict laws.
Please find enclosed herewith newspaper cuttings dated 10.11.2010 of daily Nav Bharat Times at page 9 which is self-explanatory.
This note is submitted for favour consideration and also for taking appropriate but long overdue measures to protect the Indian wives/NRI wives and children from reaching this sad plight.
Recently the Times of India in its “Crest” Edition which is available on every Saturday has dealt with the “Child Custody Wars” in a very befitting manner in which Ms.Swati Deshpande (TNN) has analyzed the rise in cross continental child custody cases and how a parent can become their child’s kidnapper.
The law is in a flux on this aspect especially India which is not a signatory to the 1980 United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Child (which is also known as the Hague convention) which most developed Nations art party to.
Concerned about the increasing number of women who are thrown out by NRI husbands, Mrs. Girija Vyas, Chairperson of National Women’s Commission recently stepped up her demand that Indian sign the Hague convention; but till such time as that is done, the dilemma continues with Indian Courts being forced to come up with solutions on a case by case basis.
Surprisingly, India is not a signatory to the Hague convention on civil aspects of International Parent Abduction though other countries are.
In an attempt to protect the interests of women who have been dishonoured abroad, Law Commission of India during last March, had suggested a need for Family Law Legislation for non-resident Indians.
NOT A HAPPY STORY
- Cross continental child custody cases are on the rise among Indian couples.
- The issue often staring young NRI couples in the face is: Which country’s court has jurisdiction in deciding their child’s fate?
- India is not yet signatory to the Hague Convention, making it difficult, some experts believe, for enforcement abroad of verdicts passed by Indian courts.
- The Law Commission has recommended changes in the law to ease the troubles of NRIs.
- The SC in its latest judgments has asked several warring couples to either obey or challenge custody orders by foreign courts in the country where they were passed.
- More fathers in India want to play real dad and not just “Sunday dad”.
- Child access or visitation rights is the biggest issue in divorce and custody battles in India.
- Joint custody or access is not an inherent right of both parents and though access is permitted by courts, violation of the orders by custodial parents often go unpunished.
- Though more fathers than ever before want to be hands-on, many continue to oppose mother’s custody as pressure tactics.
- Inadequate maintenance and support by fathers is still the plight of most women in India.
CHILD CUSTODY LAWS IN UK, USA, FRANCE AND AUSTRALIA
- It is common for parents to have joint custody whereby each parent has the right to participate in important parental decisions, although the child continues to reside mainly with one of the parents.
- If the parents cannot agree, the courts decide for them in the best interests of the child.
- Courts tend to award physical custody to the more financial secure parent with adequate parenting skills. They also take the view that younger children are usually better off with mothers and older boys with fathers in very rare cases, a parent may be permanently denied access.
- Child custody law concerns all natural children, step children and adopted children who are under 16 or between 16 and 18 and still in full time school.
- Courts do not automatically give orders about child custody in divorce cases. Divorcing couples can make private arrangements for child custody and contact between themselves. In the majority of cases, they do even though they may not be legally enforceable.
UNIQUE JOINT CUSTODY IN USA.
Each of the 50 US states has its own child custody law, but mostly similar. Each parent has an equal custody and parenting right joint custody is common. Courts may give exclusive custody to one parent but visitation rights to the other are implied. Visitation may be denied in very rare cases of child abuse and severe mental illness of a parent that could devastate the child if one parent sues for exclusive custody, s/he must show why joint custody is not in the child’s interests. The court can split children between parents. Disobeying a court’s custody or access order attracts contempt. Visitation is not denied to parents with a prison record. More than 90 percent of child custody cases are settled by the parents before entering court.
As per lawyers, it is important for the Government to recognize the truth. The more it delays bringing in new laws, more couples will resort to creative ways of gaining an upper hand and misleading courts. And more children will find themselves in access rooms – those tiny tots boxed in spaces in India’s 60 odd special families – Courts where old broken toys lie in corners like broken memories from once family albums.
It is a matter of coincidence that Mrs. VIDNI faced this problem who was dis-housed by her NRI husband in UK just after 2-3 months of marriage. She was driven by NRI husband and his family members on the false pretext that she was fat and not smart like modern girls. She was tortured in all possible ways. NRI husband in Birmingham County courts in UK filed a half page hurriedly drafted divorce petition on the ground of nullity of marriage as per UK laws. It is very strange that her marriage was registered under Hindu Marriage Act in New Delhi. Under Indian Laws and the couple lived in their hey days in the area of Inderpuri, New Delhi with other family members of boy’s relations. Though marriage was consummated in Delhi before departure of couple for Birmingham U.K. but VIDNI is penniless without any financial resources to go to UK to defend her case. She sent e-mails/telecalls to NRI husband to stop litigation but NRI husband was well advised by UK based solicitor of world fame not to call his wife under any circumstances. God willing, his petition was dismissed. But marathon race of torture does not end here. NRI husband filed another petition just after a fortnight on the ground of “irretrievable break down of marriage”. NIDS came out of depression took the refuge of a family friend who was a lawyer. Just to save her from the clutches of Mr. 420,she filed petition (i) under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act (ii) under Section 125 Cr.P.C. for maintenance (iii) complaint under Section 498-A of I.P.C. in Crime against Women Cell (iv) Complaint in the newly opened NRIs BRIDE RESCUE CELL by Mrs. Girija Vyas, Chairperson NCW under the Ministry of Overseas but scenario is that Indian Courts move at a snail’s place whereas in the face of above problems, it requires enactment of new laws and say good-bye to old laws. The Guardian and Wards Act is too anachronistic based on an even older British laws of 1876.
When we have out-dated laws like these, problems are bound to occur as laws need to keep pace with current social patterns.
Let us hope better sense prevails and India signs the HAGUE CONVENTION ON CHILD RIGHTS.
PANEL LAWYER ALL INDIA LEGAL AID CELL
ON CHILD RIGHTS
(Established under Delhi Legal Services Authority and Bachpan Bachao Andolan under the aegis of National Legal Services Authority.)
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