The Supreme Court Tuesday sought response from the Centre on a plea seeking mandatory arrest of NRIs deserting their wives and harassing them for dowry.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph issued notices to the Centre on the plea seeking that the deserted women be accorded legal, financial help and their estranged NRI husbands be arrested after the filing of FIRs.
"Issue notice. The Union of India, in its reply to be submitted within six weeks, will indicate the feasibility of having a policy on the issue. The petitioners are restrained from filing any further document," the bench said.
A group of women, who have allegedly been deserted by their Non-Resident Indian (NRI) husbands and subjected to dowry harassment, have moved the top court seeking reliefs including mandatory arrest of their estranged spouses and consular help in fighting cases in foreign land.
The women, represented by advocate Satya Mitra, said in the plea that immediate look out circular in cases of absconding husbands be issued after an FIR is lodged in the case.
"In all cases where a court has ordered summons for appearance or a warrant for arrest of the husband of an NRI-abandoned bride and the accused appears to be absconding or resisting his return to India through the embassies, his passport be impounded and revoked and all steps be taken for his return," the plea said.
The petition sought directions to Indian embassies throughout the world to play a proactive and compassionate role in coming to the aid of abandoned NRI women by locating the whereabouts of the husbands, engaging legal counsel abroad to represent the women and to take other steps to secure the arrest of the husbands to India.
The National Legal Aid Services Authority and the state authorities be directed to provide free legal aid by appointing competent counsel on all cases of complaints by NRI abandoned brides, the plea said.
"The abandoned brides be exempted from filing any court fees necessary in filing application or petitions from any court, tribunals, commission of law.
"In cases where the abandoned woman is financially destitute and is unable to take care of herself and her children, the Centre frame a scheme immediately for reasonable financial support, employment, health care benefits, education for the children, housing and the like," the plea said.
It also sought directions to the Centre for an awareness programme for any spouse visa application in various Indian embassies.
"Issue direction for compensation in cases of striking off visa's only on the perusal of the husband intimation letter to the immigration department of the host country without any documentary evidence," the plea said.
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