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Abstract

In the Indian context, marriage is considered as a sacrosanct institution that unites not only
two individuals but also two families but due to increasing globalization, and Indians having
ties and networks of people and places across the globe, people are increasingly marrying
across national boundaries. Such kinds of marriages between two people from different
countries are known as transnational marriages. Marriages with Non Resident Indians (NRI
marriages) are a class of transnational marriages. “Non-Resident Indian – NRI” is an
individual, being a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin who is resident outside India.
In the modern time, there came a shift in the concept of marriage from a sacrament bond to a
contractual union. As a result, these marriages mostly turned out to split fast and began to
pose serious long-term consequences and drastic issues not only for the wife, husband,
children and families but also for the whole of the society and economy as well for which
there seems to be no easy remedy either in law or in civil society. Some of the typical
instances of the issues which arise in NRI marriages are: abandonment of the wife; domestic
violence; non–resident Indian husband already married; continued demand for dowry, pre and
post marriage. Moreover, lenient legal system abroad for getting ex-parte divorce; issue of
Jurisdiction; validity of foreign court orders; maintenance or custody laws along with
property rights and other ancillary legal issues also crop up because of the most important
issue of the conflict of laws. The conflict of laws arises because of differences between the
law of the country of nationality of a person and that of in which that person may reside or of
which nationality may be acquired by him. Apart from it, in India there is absence of unified
civil code making the situation more critical. No doubt, at the international level, the Hague
Conference on Private International Law, is trying to develop legal mechanisms on the issues
related to person, family, or commercial situations, connected with more than one country,
particularly where there are divergences in the legal systems with the mission of working for
the “Progressive Unification” of these rules thereby involving this conference in finding
internationally-agreed approaches to such issues. India is a member of The Hague
Conference on Private International law and even though India is still not a signatory of The
Hague Convention particularly on Family Law matters so far but it is already a party to some
of the conventions which has been signed by it. This initiative on the part of Indian
Government has helped a lot in taking judicial action against errant NRI husbands. In India,
the victims of fraudulent marriages can also take recourse to legal proceedings against their
overseas Indian spouses under the provisions of a number of statutory enactments at the
national level and the State level. In addition to all these measures being taken at the
international, national as well as State level, the judiciary has also made a lot of contribution
through the deliverance of some important Judgements. However, despite of all initiatives,
the phenomenon of wives abandoned by their NRI husbands has been growing invisibly.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE

The objective of this paper to focus upon the plight of the abandoned Indian women due to
the creation of various legal as well as psychological, cultural, emotional and economic
issues involved because of the dearth of uniform civil law in India in addition to the conflict
of laws of different nations across borders in respect of matrimonial issues. In this paper, for
achieving the aim of ensuring abandoned women a capability and equity in life, adopting of
measures at advocacy at global, national and at State level like: generating and implementing
a new set of appropriate Private International laws along with bringing about their ( i.e., of
Private International Law rules) unification among all countries of the world in the context of
the abandoned brides problem; becoming party to the Hague Conventions relating to Family
Law by India; creating a domestic uniform law regarding family matters by enacting a
comprehensive new legislation solving family-related legal problems of NRIs together with
making corresponding procedural rules providing complete responsive machinery; vesting
authority in the competent courts for adjudicating NRI disputes by Indian Government and
finally again forging bilateral agreements addressing the various issues of the transnational
desertion of Indian women in addition to arranging social awareness campaigns educating the
women and their family members about the seriousness of the issue by Government of India
are suggested. For the purpose of achieving all these objectives, the present doctrinal study
depends profoundly upon various International Conventions covering the domain of Private
International Law specifically relating to the Family Law Matters in addition to various
relevant national statutory enactments and the works of a number of jurists whose
contribution is significant in this respect.

Keywords: Abandoned wives, Hague Conventions, Non-resident Indian Marriages, Overseas


Indians, Private International Law.