ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Ensuring Protection of Women in the NRI Marriages

Some Legal and Institutional Issues

The study examines the legal remedial measures for women trapped in the non-resident Indian marriages under private and public international law as well as the Indian legal and institutional framework, including a comprehensive legislation and a monitoring mechanism in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2021 vividly underscores the widening of the global gender disparity, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–22), by a “generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years” (WEF 2021). At the current pace, the South Asian region will take a staggering period of 195.4 years to bridge the gender gap. With 65 crore (0.65 billion) women population, India remains “the third-worst performer in the South Asian region, having closed 62.5% of its gap” (WEF 2021). The “gender gap” generally manifests through inequality, discrimination, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women. The existing corpus of international law appears inadequate to address the “normative gap” (Desai 2021) on the gender challenge. Ironically, an institutionalised bias pervades against females (Desai 2022) even in the third decade of the 21st century.

One such segment relates to the plight of the Indian “women being trapped in fraudulent marriages with non-resident Indians (NRIs)” that has assumed “alarm­ing proportion” (Committee on Empowerment of Women 2007). As a sequel to the 2018 petition filed by eight women in the Supreme Court of India, another petition was filed in 2021 by three women. An estimated 50,000 incidents in NRI marriages have led to registration of criminal cases under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other provisions of law (Tribune 2018a) resulting in the abandonment of women. In Punjab alone, some 32,000 aggrieved women filed first information reports in different districts (Tribune 2018b).

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Updated On : 18th Jul, 2022
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