(Image source from: NDTV.Com))
The Indian government is geared up to bring omnibus legislation that will prescribe stiff measures like the cancellation of a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) holder's Indian passport if he found to have deserted his wife.
About 4,300 lawsuits of NRI men deserting their wives in India have been registered in the last three years.
Under the proposed law, if an NRI husband deserts his wife and flee, a court summon published in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs website will be deemed to have been searched. And, as soon as the summon is entered as 'served' if the person fails to appear in court on the given date, his passport can be canceled and his property in India seized.
The law will also make the registration of marriage mandatory within 15 working days.
The Indian government has up to now canceled the passport of 33 non-resident Indians for deserting their wives. The Passport Act comprises provisions for cancellation of passport of a holder who has received a summons for a court appearance or has a warrant for his/her arrest under any law that prohibits departure from India. Thus, the new law will just formalize this for desertion of spouses by NRIs.
The larger point, however, is that, while there needs to be stringent action against such abandonment, canceling passports encourages further law-breaking. To be certain, before 2011, passports were not impounded and there was little that the deserted wives could do. Nonetheless, revoking passports means the person is liable to remain underground/illegally in a foreign nation in a bid to escape the law.