The National Commission for Women (NCW) has recommended a national helpline for women deserted in Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages and the need for a dedicated fund to provide assistance to them.
What has been discussed?
- It also discussed ways to serve a non-bailable warrant against a male offender residing abroad who has abandoned his wife. Often, these men keep changing their address and it gets challenging to track them.
- So, it suggested that a special website be set up, so that summons posted there are deemed as served on a person. Another way to track them would be through their social security number.
- Other matters discussed were ex-parte judgments on divorce obtained by husbands abroad, which are already addressed under Section 13 of the Civil Procedure Code that deals with conditions under which foreign judgments are not conclusive.
- The consultation did not, however, discuss whether India should sign the Hague Convention, which requires that if a parent has run away with a child from one country to another due to a marital dispute, the child has to be returned to the country from where he or she has been removed.
Hague Convention on Child Abduction –
- The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.
- It deals with international child custody cases.
- Passed in 1980, the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which came into force in 1983, rules that in any child custody case, the court of the country where the child is a “habitual resident” will adjudicate who will get custody.
- A total of ninety four countries, mostly developed nations in the Americas, Europe and Australia, are signatories to the Hague Convention
- The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.
- India has not signed the Convention.
What is the stance of India?
- The government is not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty.
- The government is of the view that the decision could lead to harassment of women escaping marital discord or domestic violence.
- Government has constituted a committee on the issue.
- Committee report –
- A committee constituted by the Centre to examine legal issues involved in international parental abduction has opposed a central provision of the Hague Convention.
- It said that the criterion of habitual residence of the child, which is used to determine whether the child was wrongfully removed by a parent as well as to seek the return of the child to the country of habitual residence, was not in the best interest of the child.
- It also recommended setting up of a Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority to act as a nodal body to decide on the custody of the child as well as a model law to deal with such disputes.
- However, the government is contemplating assigning the National Commission for Protection of Children the responsibility to adjudicate on such cases along with a judicial expert.
About the ‘National Commission for Women’ –
- It was set up as a statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.
- Its mission is to strive towards enabling women to achieve equality and equal participation in all spheres of life by securing her due rights and entitlements through suitable policy formulation, legislative measures, etc.
- Its functions are to –
- Review the constitutional and legal safeguards for women.
- Recommend remedial legislative measures.
- Facilitate redressal of grievances.
- Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.