will provide financial assistance for legal services to women deserted
by Overseas Indian Spouses
New Delhi, March.
In its bid to assist Indian women who have either been deserted
or divorced by their overseas Indian spouses within two years of
marriage, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has finalized
a scheme to provide them financial assistance for obtaining legal
and counseling services through Indian Missions abroad.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) proposes to introduce
this scheme to start with in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, the places from where such cases
are being mostly reported. The assistance will be provided to Indian
women who are victims of fraudulent marriages and deserted by their
Overseas Indian husbands or are facing divorce proceedings in a
The concerned Indian Missions will involve credible Indian women’s
organizations and NGOs working in these countries and give them
financial assistance to the tune of US $1,000 per case. The organizations
will be expected to provide documentation and initial support for
legal proceedings and counseling for the deserted women.
The objective of the scheme is to provide advisory and legal services
to women of Indian origin in distress as a welfare measure. Legal
services would be provided by a panel of community advocates through
credible Indian associations and women’s organizations.
The scheme will cover Indian women deserted in India or overseas
within two years of their marriage and divorce proceedings initiated
by the Overseas Indian husband within two years of marriage. Legal
aid will also be provided in the cases of an ex-parte decree of
divorce or annulment of the marriage obtained by the Overseas Indian
husband and a case of maintenance or alimony is required to be filed.
The scheme would be circulated among Indian community associations
by the Missions concerned for information and publicity and sent
to women’s groups and NGOs inviting them to apply for empanelment
under the scheme for providing legal services. The women’s
organization/NGO will make efforts to enlist community advocates
to extend further legal assistance/appearance in court etc.
The applications for legal aid received by the Missions and authorizing
the Missions to take up their case legally would be examined and
approved by the Mission. The applications received in the Ministry
of Overseas Indian Affairs from women seeking assistance will be
examined by a Committee in the Ministry. Based on the scrutiny and
approval of the Ministry, the cases will be recommended to the Missions
for giving assistance to women in distress.
The government’s decision to put in place the assistance
mechanism comes in the wake of increasing number of complaints of
Indian women who opt for NRI/Overseas Indian marriages but are abandoned
or ill-treated by their husbands.
for Deserted Indian Women
New Delhi, Nov. 01, 2006
SCHEME FOR THE WELFARE OF WOMEN DESERTED BY THEIR
OVERSEAS INDIAN SPOUSES
The objective of the scheme is to provide some financial assistance
to needy women in distress who have been deserted by their overseas
Indian spouses for obtaining counseling and legal services. The
term “Overseas Indian” would include NRIs and foreign
citizens of Indian origin. The counseling and legal services would
be provided through credible Indian Women’s Organizations/Indian
Community Associations and NGOs identified for providing such services
and empanelled with the Indian Missions in the USA, the UK, Canada,
Australia, and the Gulf. The scheme is a welfare measure to support
women of Indian origin in distress, through the mobilization of
the local Indian
community in the endeavour and with some financial assistance from
II. Scope of and Eligibility for the Scheme:
The scheme would be available to the women who have been deserted
by their overseas Indian spouses or are facing divorce proceedings
in a foreign country subject to the following conditions:-
(i) The woman is an Indian passport holder.
(ii) The marriage of the woman has been solemnized and registered
(iii) The woman is deserted in India or after reaching abroad within
two years of the marriage.
(iv) Divorce proceedings are initiated within two years of the marriage
by her overseas Indian spouse.
(v) An ex-parte divorce has been obtained by the overseas Indian
spouse and a case for maintenance and alimony is to be filed.
(vi) The scheme would not be available to a woman facing criminal
charges or having a criminal case decided against her.
(vii) The domicile of the woman seeking relief under the scheme
is not relevant for allowing the benefit. The woman may be domiciled
in the country of her overseas Indian spouse or in India at the
time of making the application.
(viii) Preference may be given to applicants on the basis of financial
(ix) Assistance will be limited to meeting initial cost and incidental
charges for documentation and filing of the case by the Indian women’s
organization/NGO on the woman’s behalf.
(x) The assistance will be limited to US $1000 per case and will
be released to the Indian community organizations/NGO concerned
to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation
and preparatory work for filing the case.
(xi) The women’s organization/NGO will make efforts to enlist
community advocates, preferably women advocates, to extend further
legal assistance/ appearance in court etc on a pro-bono basis.
Pattern of Assistance
Under the scheme Indian Missions in the countries concerned would
empanel credible Indian Women’s Organizations/ Indian Community
Associations/NGOs and their member advocates, preferably women,
to provide legal aid to the victims in distress and whose names
have been approved by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. The
applications for providing legal aid received by the Missions would
be examined by an officer designated by the Head of the Mission
on case-to-case basis and approved by Head of Mission/Deputy Chief
of the Mission.
The applications received in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
will be examined by an internal committee consisting of a legal
advisor and an officer of the rank of Director/Deputy Secretary
and approved by Secretary. Thereafter, the Ministry will recommend
the case to Mission concerned to provide legal aid support. The
applicant would also be informed to approach the Mission concerned
in this regard.
Financial Grants to Embassies/High Commissions:
In the current year the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs would
initially sanction Rs. 40 lakhs each to the Indian Missions in USA,
UK, Canada, Australia, and the Gulf subject to review next year.
Thus, in the current year the budget provision for this scheme will
be Rs. 2 crore. The expenditure incurred on the scheme would be
debited to the following Budget Head each year.
Major Head : 2061 (External Affairs)
Minor Head : 00.800 (Other Expenditure)
03 (Other Schemes)
03.00.50 (Other Charges)
Government of India
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
A meeting was held on 19th October, 2006 in the chamber of Secretary
MOIA to discuss the scheme for giving financial aid for the welfare
for the women deserted by their overseas Indian spouses. The officers
who attended is at annexure – ‘A’.
It was noted that the objective of the scheme was to provide some
financial support to women of Indian origin in distress to obtain
advisory and legal services as a welfare measure. The term overseas
Indian would include NRIs and foreign citizens of Indian origin.
The counseling and legal services would be provided by a panel of
community advocates, preferably women advocates, through credible
Indian Associations and women’s organizations, NGOs working
in the field of Women’s Welfare empanelled with our Missions
in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand
and the Gulf.
After detailed discussions on the draft
scheme circulated the following decisions were taken:
1. The scheme would be implemented through credible Indian women’s
organization/ Indian Community Associations/NGOs working in the
field of women’s welfare to be empanelled with the Indian
Missions, to begin with, in the USA, the UK, Canada and the Gulf.
2. The women’s organization/NGOs must be preferably already
engaged in the welfare and protection of women in distress.
3. The organization who will enlist Indian community advocates,
preferably women advocates, to do voluntary work and provide legal
assistance/counseling services for a pro-bono basis.
4. The scheme would cover the types of cases listed below:
(i) A woman whose marriage is solemnized and registered in India
but who is deserted in India or overseas within two years of the
(ii) Divorce proceedings initiated by the spouse within two years
of the marriage.
(iii) An ex-parte decree of divorce or annulment of the marriage
is obtained by the spouse and a case for maintenance/alimony is
required to be filed.
5. The assistance under the scheme would be limited to $1000 per
case to enable the organization/NGO to undertake initial work/documentation
required for the legal proceedings on the women’s behalf.
6. The scheme will be circulated amongst Indian community Associations
by the Missions concerned for information and publicity and sent
to the credible Indian women’s organizations/ Indian Community
Associations/ NGOs working in the field of women’s welfare
inviting them to apply for empanelment under the scheme.
7. The applications received by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
seeking assistance will be examined by a committee in MOIA consisting
of a legal advisor and Director (SS). Based on this scrutiny and
approval of the MOIA, the cases will be recommended to our Missions
for sanctioning assistance to the woman in distress through the
organizations/NGOs concerned. The applications from victims of NRI
marriages received directly by the Indian Missions abroad will be
examined and approved by the Head of Mission/ Deputy Chief of Mission.
8. The scheme would be revised on the lines and IFD concurrence/approval
of the competent authority obtained for early action.