Alarming rise in NRIs sending divorce notices from abroad

Telangana State Commission for Women will pitch for bilateral agreements between India and other countries to curb the menace of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) living and working abroad dumping their wives unilaterally by filing for divorce in foreign courts.

There has been an alarming rise in the cases coming to the Commission related to ‘NRI marriages’ where the NRI husbands were sending divorce notices from abroad to their wives here ostensibly on grounds of incompatibility, said Tripurana Venkataratnam, Chairperson of Telangana State Women’s Commission.

Several such women issued divorce notices by their NRI husbands when they came back to India or were hoping to join their husbands who left after the marriage were clueless on how to fight the case legally in the courts abroad, she said. Besides, it is financially prohibitive for women residing in India to fight a case in an overseas court, she said.

Even in few cases, when the women responded to the divorce notices terming them invalid under the Hindu Marriage Act, the foreign courts were still issuing divorce decrees, she said citing a case that came to the Commission.

“Therefore, we will pitch for bilateral agreements between India and other countries that they should respect our family and marriage laws in cases involving Indian citizens but living and working on foreign soil,” Ms. Venkataratnam said.

The proposal would be made in the forthcoming consultative workshop being organized by the National Commission for Women in collaboration with Telangana State Commission for Women in Hyderabad on November 5, she told The Hindu here on Tuesday.

The Indian law is clear and there are Supreme Court judgments stating that for the marriages performed as per the Hindu Marriage Act, divorces cannot be granted in a foreign country.

“But the NRI husbands, though holding Indian passports, were invoking respective domicile laws and issuing divorce notices to their wives back in India, and the overseas courts are granting divorce decrees.



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