to protect Indian women deserted by their NRI husbands
New Delhi June 06, 2008
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is running
a scheme to provide legal assistance to Indian women divorced/deserted
by their overseas Indian spouses to enable them to take up their
case in the relevant court (s) in the country concerned.
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
citizen 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, New Zealand 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 the Government.
Scope of the 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:-
•The woman is an Indian passport holder.
•The marriage of the woman has been solemnized in India.
•The woman is deserted in India or after reaching abroad
within five years of the marriage.
•Divorce proceedings are initiated within five years of the
marriage by her overseas Indian spouse.
•An ex-parte divorce has been obtained by the overseas Indian
spouse within 10 years of marriage and a case for maintenance and
alimony is to be filed.
•The scheme would not be available to a woman facing criminal
charges of having a criminal case decided against her.
•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.
•Preference may be given to applicants on the basis of financial
•Assistance will be limited to meeting initial cost and incidental
charges for documentation and filling of the case by the Indian
women’s organization/NGO on the woman’s behalf.
•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.
•The women’s organization/NGO will make efforts to
enlist community advocates, preferable women advocates, to extend
further legal assistance/appearance in court etc. on a pro-bono
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.