How to get Divorce in India

How to get Divorce in India

Marriage and family have been considered as two significant institutions of society. Marriage was considered to be unbreakable tie between the husband and wife. But with the passage of time, transformation can be seen in this view. In present time, communication-gap, changing roles of husband and wife, and tensions of fast growing life bring this transformation. These factors have an adverse impact on the relationship of married couples which leads them to seek legal help in solving their marriage problems. The rate of divorce in the world is becoming alarming and geometrical in calculation. There are approximately 55,000 cases pending related to divorce.

What is the meaning of term divorce?

Divorce is a legal end of marriage institution. Such legal end of marriage can be sought with the help of court. When a court passes a divorce decree, it reorganizes or cancels the legal responsibilities and duties of marriage of marriage couples. Divorce is a legal separation of husband and wife and also includes division of property assets and issue of child custody.

What are the types of divorce?

There are two types of divorce according to the nature of its proceedings. These are:-

  • Contested divorce
  • Mutual consent divorce.

Contested divorce: Where one party wishes to get divorce, but the other party refuses for the same or parties are unable to settle the matters related to child custody, maintenance and property division etc. then such party has to contest the divorce. Contested can take period of more than 2 years as it depends on the lot of factors.

Mutual consent divorce: Where both parties are agreed to terminate the marriage and has mutually settled the other issues related to marriages, and then mutual consent divorce can be filed in the court. It is fastest way to get divorce. It takes maximum period of 6 months.

What are the laws?

India is secular country and wide numbers of religions are freely practiced. The major religions practiced include Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. People belongs to particular religion performs marriage with religious rituals and ceremonies, which are mostly codified by their personal laws. Therefore matrimonial issues like marriage, divorce, child custody and other related issues are governed by the personal laws of the parties depending on their religion:-

  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for people who are Hindus under the Act for e.g. Hindu, Buddhists, Sikh, Jain.
  • Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 and the Divorce Act, 1869: For Christian people.
  • Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936: For Parsi people.
  • Special Marriage Act, 1954 applies to all people of all religions.

Divorce under Hindu Marriage Act:

Contested divorce: A party whose marriage was solemnized under Hindu Marriage Act can take divorce as per the provisions of this Act. The divorce petition is filed under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act on following grounds:-

  • Adultery: – It is a criminal offence where spouse is involved in sexual relations with someone out of marriage.
  • Cruelty: – Cruelty included both mental and physical. It is a very wide term. It includes bodily harm, abusing and mental or physical torture etc.
  • Desertion: – Where spouse left his/her partner without any intention of coming back. Desertion for more than 2 years could be a valid ground for divorce.
  • Conversion of religion: – If spouse covert his/her religion then it can be considered as a ground for divorce.
  • Mental disorder: – Mental disorder is ground for divorce. It includes unsoundness of mind, mental illness, or other mental disorder which makes the person abnormally aggressive.
  • Venereal disease: – It is a ground for divorce if such disease is communicable by nature. The period of such disease is not relevant. It is necessary to point out here that now leprosy is not a ground for divorce as per latest amendment in personal laws in 2019.
  • Renunciation of the world: – If spouse has renounced the world and has entered a holy order. The other party may take divorce if spouse has renounced the world.
  • Presumption of Death: If the whereabouts of the spouse has not been known for 7 years or more, then it becomes a presumption of his/her death. The other party can take divorce on this ground.

Other grounds for divorce only available to women:-

  • If husband is guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality.
  • The wife was married before the age of 15 years and refuses to accept the marriage after attaining that age. However, such refusal must be made before the age of 18 years.
  • A decree or order has been passed by the court for maintenance to the wife and they have not been living together for more than 1 year.

Mutual consent divorce: Mutual consent divorce is filed under Section 13 B of the Act. For seeking mutual consent divorce parties must have been living separately for 1 year. They must be mutually agreed for the divorce.

When divorce can be filed?

Divorce petition can be filed after the expiry of 1 year from the date of marriage. However, in case of exceptional hardship petitioner can move application before High Court to allow him/her to file divorce petition before the expiry of said period.

When divorced person can marry again?

On obtaining the divorce decree, the remedy of appeal is available to the other party. A specific period is given for appeal in the higher courts. If the other party doesn’t prefer appeal within that specified period. Then after the expiry of that appeal period divorced person can perform his/her marriage again.

Divorce under Muslim Law:

A Muslim man can take divorce from his wife without interference of the court. But if Muslim woman wishes to take divorce from her husband then she can move petition under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act. On the following grounds Muslim woman can get divorce from her husband:-

  • Whereabouts of the husband is not known for 4 years.
  • Husband failed to provide maintenance to wife for 2 years.
  • Husband got imprisonment for at least 7 years for criminal offence.
  • Husband failed to comply with his marital obligations for 3 years without any reason.
  • Husband was impotent at the time of marriage.
  • Husband suffering venereal diseases or of unsound mind for at least 2 years.
  • Cruelty by husband.
  • Wife married before the age of 15 years.

Now, the Triple talaq or Talaq-e-Biddat is void or illegal as per Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019. It is a cognizable and non-bailable offence under this Act.

Divorce under Indian Divorce Act:

This Act applies to the Christian community in India. There are two ways to file divorce i.e. mutual consent divorce and contested divorce.

Mutual consent divorce: – If both parties are living separately from atleast 2 years and agreed to divorce then they can file mutual consent divorce before the Family court.

Contested divorce: – Contested divorce can be filed on the following grounds:-

  • Adultery
  • Conversion of religion.
  • Unsoundness of mind for continuous period of 2 years.
  • Virulent and incurable form of leprosy for 2 years.
  • Not known the whereabouts for 7 years or more.
  • Willfully refuse to consummate the marriage.
  • Failed to comply with the decree of restitution of conjugal rights for period of 2 years or more.
  • Desertion for 2 years.
  • Cruelty
  • Husband is guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality.

Divorce under Special Marriage Act:

This Act applies to the inter-caste or inter-religions marriages in India. Under this two forms of divorce are provided. Parties can either mutual consent divorce or contested divorce according to their circumstances.

Mutual consent divorce: – Parties can file mutual consent divorce under Section 28 of this Act. For filling mutual consent divorce parties must have resided separately for the period of atleast one year and mutually agreed to the divorce.

Contested divorce: – Contested divorce can be filed on following grounds:-

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for 2 years.
  • Spouse got imprisonment for 7 years or more for criminal offence.
  • Cruelty
  • Communicable or venereal disease.
  • Spouse is missing for 7 years or more.
  • Judicial separation.

Where the petition can be filed?

The divorce petition can be filed in the Family court which have jurisdiction to entertain the petition. A person can file petition where:-

  • Marriage was performed.
  • Parties last lived together after marriage.
  • Party seeking divorce is currently living.
  • Respondent resides at the time of presentation of petition.

What are the documents required for contested divorce?

The following documents are required for contested divorce in India:-

  • Residence proof of husband and wife.
  • Marriage certificate/ Nikahnama as the case may be.
  • Documents related to the financial status of husband and wife like income certificate, tax returns etc.
  • Documents proving the ground on which divorce is being filed.

What are the documents required for mutual consent divorce?

Documents required for mutual consent divorce are:-

  • Residence proof of husband and wife.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Photographs of husband and wife.
  • Evidence with regard to separate living.
  • Details of profession and income of husband and wife.
  • Details of the property and assets owned by the spouse.
  • Proof to show that mediation was unsuccessful and the parties couldn’t be reconciled.


Divorce is a most difficult phase of every married couple. It is important for every spouse seeking divorce to know about the rights and duties after the end of marriage institution. Many personal laws provide the solutions to get rid of unhappy marriage by filling divorce in the court. A divorce petition is drafted and filed in the relevant court. In India seeking a divorce is a lengthy legal process which may take time from 6 months to years depends upon the circumstances of each case.

-Kiranpreet Kaur

Associate at Aggarwals & Associates, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali




Domestic Violence in India

Domestic Violence in India

Domestic violence in India is not a hidden secret, it is rampant in India as Indian society is a patriarchal society and where women are subverted by the male dominated society. In the recent times of COVID-19 pandemic where economic, social, political, professional positions are at stake and facing huge problems. In this time the mostly hit area is the women community. The crime of domestic violence suddenly ramped up after the announcement of lockdown not only in India but all over the world. In India, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 commonly known as Domestic Violence Act deals with the rights of women who are victim of domestic abuse.

What is domestic Violence?

The term domestic violence includes all forms of actual abuse or threat of abuse of physical, mental, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic nature that can cause harm, injury or endanger the health, safety, life, limb or well being of the aggrieved person. Unlawful demand of dowry from woman and her relatives also comes under the ambit of domestic violence.

How many?

According to National Family Health Survey IV 2015-16, 31.1% married women aged 15-49 years experienced spousal violence at least once in their lives. According to a survey 27 % women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 in India. Total 133154 cases of domestic violence have been reported in India in 2016.

During COVID-19 related lockdown, Indian women filed more complaint of domestic violence. Between the period of 25th March to 31st May, 2020, 3, 11,477 complaints of domestic violence were made by women. The national lockdown has reported more than 50% rise in domestic violence cases.

Who can file a complaint?

One of the best feature of the Domestic Violence Act is that it recognizes all women who live with the abuser in a shared household not restricting to married relationship but includes other women residing in the shared household that are sisters, mothers, single women or living in any other relationship with the abuser are entitled to protection under this Act.

The Act includes every relation which a woman a shares with the abuser. Thus even women like sisters, mothers, widow, single women or living in any other relation with the abuser are entitled to protection under this Act.

As per Section 4 of the Act any person who has a reason to believe that an act of domestic violence has been or is likely to be committed may give information to the concerned protection officer regarding such violence. Therefore parents, brothers/sister, relatives or friends of the victim can also give an application to the concerned officer.

Against whom complaint can be filed?

Section (2) (q) “respondent” means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act.

Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner

Thus a adult person who is a abuser living in a domestic relation with the women can be made accused under the domestic violence act

Are female relative out of ambit of this Act?

Though the act does not mention females in the definition of respondent but Supreme Court in its judgment in Sandhya Wankhede vs Manoj Bhimrao Wankhede has made it clear that Section 2 (q) includes female relatives of the male adult also, thus a complaint can also be file under this act if female relative of the male adult is the abuser.

Can wife implicate all the members of the family?

Though Domestic Violence Act is a progressive legislation but it can be seen that sometimes women have misused the Act for erroneous reasons which has also cast doubt on genuine complainants by women.

               In the case Ashish dixit vs State of UP & Anr, the women in her complaint had included even those parties who she didn’t know by name. Therefore the Supreme Court in its judgment had held that wife cannot implicate any person related to the male adult.

Thus complaint against those relatives who are not party to the crime/abuse will not be tenable.

What are the various types of abuse?

The Act defines various types of abuses which constitute the domestic violence, these are:-

  1. Physical
  2. Sexual
  3. Verbal and emotional
  4. Economic

Let us now see what constitutes as abuse under the above mentioned heads:

  1. Physical abuse

Physical abuse would mean the use of physical force which would cause her bodily harm. Physical abuse includes criminal intimidation or assault. Generally we consider physical abuse as somebody beating, kicking, punching, slapping, pushing, pulling hair and body parts, hitting with an object. But acts such as abuser resorting  to kicking doors, threatening  her with an object or weapon, threatens or actually hurts her children, deserts her in an unknown or a dangerous place, forces her to leave her matrimonial home would also amount to physical abuse.

  1. Sexual abuse

Any act of the abuser which coerces the women to have unwanted or even unsafe sexual activity, any such sexual activity which  women is not comfortable with or is disrespectful to her dignity, or  calling her names which have sexual orientation, hurting her genitals or touching her inappropriately would amount to sexual abuse.

Though marital rape is an exception under Indian Penal Code section 375 but under domestic violence act, women can seek help for such injustices under this Act. A protection order can be sought from the court.

  1. Verbal and emotional abuse

As Indian women have always been subverted by men hence name calling, criticizing her, taunting and humiliation has been a part and parcel of her life. This is perhaps a type of abuse which most of the women have faced in their life and they consider it as a part of their destiny which sometime times lead irreparable harm to the victims psyche.

The Act has defined that if the abuser indulges in insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling, ridiculing her for not having children especially with regard to male child, threatens the women with causing physical pain to any person who she is interested in or criticizing her constantly are all forms of verbal and emotional abuse.

  1. Economic abuse

This would perhaps be an abuse which women wouldn’t have thought it as an abuse but domestic violence act clearly defines what would constitute as economic abuse

It includes depriving a women of financial resources which she is entitled to under any law or custom whether it is payable under an order of a court or otherwise which the women requires out of necessity but money required by her would not be limited to household necessity, it will include money which she will require to fulfill her necessity like clothing, medicines etc.

Disposing or alienating any property owned by the aggrieved person whether it is jointly owned or separately owned including istridhan property, valuable, shares, bonds. Prohibiting or restricting use of resources/money or facilities which the women is entitled to use would constitute economic abuse.

 What is the Procedure to file a domestic violence case?

  1. A victim of domestic violence or a witness of such incident can register a complaint with local protection officer, or local police officer, or service provider (NGO working for the rights and protection of women) or with magistrate.
  2. The aggrieved person or a protection officer or any other person on behalf of the aggrieved person may present an application to the magistrate seeking one or more relief mentioned in the act.
  3. After receiving the application the magistrate will fix a date for hearing which shall not be ordinarily beyond three days from the date of receipt of application.
  4. The magistrate shall endeavor to dispose of the application within sixty days.
  5. The magistrate may at any stage of the case direct the aggrieved person or the respondent to go for counseling, singly or jointly.

What are Reliefs/benefits under the Act?

Counseling – The magistrate may direct the parties to undergo counseling with a member of a service provider (NGO) singly or jointly. Sometimes counseling can be a solution as trained counselor can make the abuser realize his mistakes and the abuser mend his way.

Right to reside in a shared household – Every women in a domestic relation shall have the right to reside in a household whether that house belongs to her or not, she has any title of that property or not. The abuser cannot evict the aggrieved person from the household.

Protection orders – If after hearing both parties the magistrate is satisfied that domestic violence has taken place or is likely to take place then the magistrate may pass a protection order in favor of the aggrieved person and prohibit the abuser from committing any act of violence, entering the place the place of her employment, attempt to communicate through any means etc. The magistrate may direct officer in charge of the local police station with implementation of the protection orders.

Residency orders – The magistrate may pass residency order in the following ways:-

  1. Restraining the abuser from dispossessing or disturbing the possession of the aggrieved person from the shared household
  2. Directing the abuser to remove himself from the shared household
  3. Restraining the abuser or his relatives from entering any portion of the household in which the woman resides
  4. Restraining the abuser from alienating or disposing off the shared household or causing hindrance
  5. Directing the abuser to arrange same type of accommodation for the victim as enjoyed by her in the shared household
  6. Pay rent for the accommodation provided to the aggrieved victim
  7. Preventing the abuser from renouncing his rights in a shared household except with the permission of the magistrate
  8. The magistrate may direct the abuser to return back property or istridhan property back to the aggrieved person which belonged to her.

Monetary relief – The magistrate may pass orders to provide monetary relief to the aggrieved person in following ways:-

  1. Directing the abuser to pay money to the victim to meet her expenses and expenses of her child, due to loss suffered because of domestic violence.
  2. Directing the abuser to provide for maintenance to victim as well as her child even in addition to maintenance she is getting under section 125 of code of criminal procedure, 1973.
  3. The monetary relief which the victim will get must be adequate and consistent with the standard of living of the victim which she is accustomed to.
  4. Magistrate can direct the abuser to either pay monthly installments or a lump sum amount.
  5. If the abuser doesn’t comply with the orders of the magistrate to pay compensation, the magistrate can direct abusers debtor or his employer to directly pay the amount to the victim.

Custody order –In addition to other reliefs granted under this act, magistrate may on an application made by the victim grant temporary custody of the child to the victim. And if the magistrate is of the opinion that visit to the child by the abuser is harmful then magistrate may even refuse these visits.

Compensation orders – In addition to other relief the magistrate, on an application made by the aggrieved person, may direct the abuser to pay compensation to the aggrieved person for injuries caused to her due to domestic violence including mental torture and emotional distress.

Can a victim get ex parte or interim relief under the Act?

Yes the victim can get ex parte or interim relief if the magistrate is satisfied prima facie that an abuse has occurred and then magistrate may pass ex parte orders or provide interim relief to the aggrieved person.

How long does the protection order stay?

A protection order made under Section 18 shall be in force till the victim applies for discharge. On receipt of such application if the magistrate is satisfied that the circumstances have changed and the order should be revoked, he may pass such order with reasons recorded in writing.

What if the abuser violates the protection order?

A breach of such order by the abuser shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to one year or fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or both. The breach of such order shall be a cognizable (where police can arrest without warrant) and non-bailable offence. Further, the court will conclude whether the breach has occurred of the protection orders or not on the sole testimony of the aggrieved person

Where victim can file a complaint?

A complaint can be filled at such place:-

  1. Where the victim resides whether permanently or temporary or carries on business or employment.
  2. The abuser resides or carries business or is employed.
  3. Or where the abuse has occurred.

What if the protection officer is not discharging his/her duty?

If any protection officer is not discharging or fails to discharge his duty as directed by the magistrate without giving any sufficient cause of non performance of duty, then protection officer shall be liable to punishment which may extend to one year or fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or both.

Is Domestic Violence Act applicable to partners living in live in relationship?

To answer this question first we should look at what the Act says about live in relationships and what is the intent of legislature in framing this Act.

Under Section 2 (f) the act defines domestic relationship as  –  “domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.

By simply reading the definition it is clear that legislature has given domestic relation a wide meaning.

Not restricting the applicability of the act to only married couples. The Act includes those couples also who are not married but living in a relationship in the nature of marriage, including live in relationships. Through this Act Parliament has taken note of the new phenomenon emerging in the country of live in relationship and has provided some degree of protection and relief to women who are in live in relationships.


Before the enactment of this Act, there were other remedies available to women but they were limited and time consuming. Woman either could file a criminal complaint under section 498 A of Indian Penal Code or had to go to the civil court to seek a decree of divorce. Another encumbrance which women faced before the enactment of this Act was that relationship outside marriage did not qualify for protection.

-Kiranpreet Kaur

Associate at Aggarwals & Associates, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali

What are the legal remedies for brides dumped by NRI husbands?

What are the legal remedies for brides dumped by NRI husbands?

There have been numerous instances of men settled abroad and coming back to India for marriage and then abandoning their wives after taking their money and valuables. A large number of victims are from Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala. In Punjab, large numbers of cases are found in the Doaba Region which is a NRI hub in Punjab. Many people from this region had migrated in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to various foreign countries.

Such women dumped by NRI husbands are known as “holiday brides.” Marrying off the daughters to families settled aboard is one of the main reasons behind this phenomenon. There are a lot of cases where girl got married to NRI and later it comes into light that the boy is already married and has no intention of taking his Indian bride to the country he lives in.

What are the issues related to NRI marriages?

The problems with NRI marriages are complex in nature as these often falls within the sphere of Private International law and law of foreign land. The common problems related to NRI marriages faced by Indian women include:-

  • Abandonment of the wife for various reasons.
  • Domestic violence.
  • NRI husband already married.
  • Demand of dowry.
  • Lenient legal system in relation to divorce in foreign countries.

How many cases are there?

According to a report, Ministry of External affairs received 5298 complaints between 1st January, 2016 to 31st October, 2019. These complaints mainly related to the issues like abandonment, harassment, cheating, and domestic violence by the husbands residing abroad.  Majority of these NRIs are in the Unites States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. According to one other report in 2018, there are 12,000 complaints registered in Regional Passport Office (RPO) Chandigarh which covers 24 districts of Punjab and Haryana. In 2011, around 15,000 complaints got registered in RPO Jalandhar from Doaba Region from last few years.

In May, 2019 the RPO Chandigarh had suspended 370 passports of NRIs accused. RPO Chandigarh also writes to the Embassies and even informed the employers of such NRIs about suspension of their passports in order to make sure the return of NRIs accused to India for facing criminal cases.

In 2018, as per the report of Punjab State Commission for Women around 30,000 cases related to NRIs in the state abandoning their wives are pending.

What wife can do if she is dumped by her NRI husband?

If any wife dumped by her NRI husband in India, then she can immediately file a complaint/FIR U/s 498 A of IPC on grounds of cruelty in the local police station. Persons related to wife by blood, marriage or adoption also can file a complaint under this Section. According to Section 188 of Cr.P.C. offences committed by Indian Citizen outside India would be deemed to have been committed within the territory of India. Therefore a compliant can be lodged in India.

If any women abandoned in the foreign country then she can approach the local police station or may contact the Indian Embassy in such foreign country, employer of her husband and local Indian associations working for such abandoned women.

What is Section 498-A of IPC?

Section 498-A deals with the cruelty to a woman by her husband and relative of husband. Such cruelty may be mental or physical. Desertion comes under the definition of cruelty.  Maximum punishment under this offence is 3 years and fine can also be imposed on the accused person.

What to do if police refuses to register a FIR?

In that case aggrieved wife can move a written representation to the Station House Officer (SHO) U/s 154(3) Cr.P.C. If he refuses to register a complaint, then she can forward the same to the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the concerned district. If he satisfied that the information discloses the commission of cognizable offence, then he shall investigate the matter himself or direct any subordinate police officer to investigate the matter.

What to do if Superintendent of Police also refuses to take action?

An aggrieved wife can file a criminal complaint before the Magistrate U/s 156 (3) of Cr.P.C. Any magistrate can order investigation U/s 190 of Cr.P.C. on the basis criminal complaint filed by the aggrieved women.

What to do if you are not satisfied with the police investigation?

Police presents the final report U/s 173 of the Cr.P.C. after completion of investigation. If aggrieved wife is not satisfied with the investigation, then she can move a protest petition before the Magistrate against the negative police report. That petition is treated as compliant U/s 190 of the Cr.P.C. before the court. On satisfaction, Magistrate can inquire the matter himself or can order an investigation by an officer-in-charge.

What to do if NRI husband doesn’t respond to the summons?

The Central authority on receiving summons from proper judicial authority shall forward the summons outside India. If NRI husband doesn’t respond to the summons of the Indian Court, then aggrieved has a remedy U/s 10 of the Passport Act to cancel the passport. She can move an application under this Section for impounding of his passport at concerned RPO office. It is a simple request, no prescribed performa is required. The following documents are required to make complaint in RPO officer for suspension of passport:-

  • Marriage certificate.
  • Copy of FIR.
  • Documents detailing husband’s name, Date of birth and address.

According to officer of Passport Authority they send a show cause notice to the husband on receipt of compliant. On failure to give any response to the show cause notice, the passport got suspended. If the husband managed to flee from India, then information has been sent to the Indian Embassy in the foreign country where he resides. In that case accused husband left with 2 choices, either to come back India or to stay illegally in foreign country.

What is the procedure if accused NRI husband escape arrest?

Where the NRI husband deliberately evade the arrest or not appear in the trial court despite of Non-Bailable Warrant in penal offences and there is a chance that he will leave India to evade the arrest or trial, then police can issue Look-out –Circular (LOC). The investigation officer shall make a written request to the concerned officer for LOC.

Can accused husband be deported or extradited to face trial in India?

Deportation of the accused husband depends upon the criminality of the offence in the country where he resides and India has extradition treaty with that country. A person can be deported or extradited if he is required under any criminal case. The Ministry of External Affairs on receiving of formal request of extradition from the concerned investigating agency or state police authorities will take appropriate steps.

Matrimonial, private family disputes are not in conformity with the law of extradition. These offences lack dual criminality criteria which is mandatory for seeking extradition. For e.g. dowry cases are offence in India but in a country like Australia dowry is not an offence, in that case it become difficult to deport accused person from that country. Usually foreign countries denied the request for extradition in matrimonial disputes.

Indian Govt. initiative on safeguards of dumped brides:

The proposed Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019 has been designed to safeguard the Indian brides who are dumped by their NRI husbands. In absence of an appropriate law in India to deals with such kind of cases, legal action taken against the NRI husbands depend upon the wishes of countries of their residence.

In most of the cases, request for deportation of husband have been rejected by the foreign countries, where they were booked U/s 498-A of IPC and Dowry Act. The National Commission for Women and State Commissions for Women have very limited powers to take any strict police actions against such NRI husbands. The proposed Bill has the following features:-

  • Compulsory registration of marriage by an NRI within 30 days from the date of marriage.
  • It seeks to amend the Passport Act, 1967 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • It empowers the Passport Authority to impound or revoke the passport or travel document of an NRI, if it is brought in the notice that NRI has not registered his/her marriage within 30 days from the date of marriage.
  • The bill empowers the courts to issue summons or warrants through the specifically designed website of Ministry of External Affairs.
  • In case of proclaimed offender, empowers to attach both immovable and movable property belongs to such proclaimed offender.

The Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 11th Feb, 2019, and was referred to the Standing Committee on External Affairs. The Standing Committee has approved the bill and submits its report on 13th of March, 2020. This initiative being the need of hour will change the present scenario of hardships faced by thousands of women. Many NRIs will not dare to commit such crimes due to the fear of suspension of passport and property attachment.

Do get your marriage registered in India:

It is advisable to get your marriage registered with office of Registrar in India before your husband leaves the country. Marriage certificate helps to settle out disputes in various ways. It is also preferable to keep the adequate proof like marriage photographs, wedding invitation, copy of husband’s passport, driving licence and any other ID proof issued by the foreign country.


In absence of any strong law, it is highly recommended for the deserted women to make application for cancellation of passport of offending NRI husband. Once the passport got cancelled, he can’t leave the country if present in India. If he managed to escape then he will have to be deported to India. At present, it is not easy to get the man back to India for facing legal proceedings in cases of desertion, domestic violence or dowry harassment. These offences are required to be included in the scope of extradition treaties that India links with other countries.

-Kiranpreet Kaur

Associate at Aggarwals and Associates, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali