There have been a few thousand cases where women married to NRI husbands have been cheated on and deserted within months of marriage. It leads to an emotionally traumatic situation for the wife and she is misled that there is no legal recourse. The Regional Passport Office of Chandigarh had suspended the passports of 60 NRIs for deserting their wives in 2018. This article talks about the legal recourse available if a husband abandons his wife and moves to a foreign country.

The circumstances under which the Passport Authority can impound the passport

  • If a charge sheet has been filed by the police against the passport holder in the Criminal Court and he fails to make an appearance.
  • If the passport holder is convicted by a Criminal Court in India for more than two years for an offense involving moral turpitude.

Consequences of suspension of the Passport for the husband

  • If the husband is in India, any travel abroad will be restricted.
  • If the husband is abroad his stay will be deemed illegal from the day the Passport is suspended, forcing a deportation back to India.

Difference between impounding and seizure of a Passport

The police have the authority to seize the passport under Section 102(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. However, if the seized passport is retained over a long time, it amounts to impounding. Under the Indian law, only the Passport Authority has the power to impound passport under Section 10(3) of The Passport Act, 1967. In addition to this, the Passport Authority has the power to suspend the Passport of a person with immediate effect under Section 10 A of the Passport Act, 1967.

The steps to be taken to get the passport impounded or seized

  • A complaint must be filed at the nearest police station under Section 498-A IPC. The police after registering the complaint will conduct an investigation and file a charge sheet before the magistrate if the investigation indicates commission of an offence.
  • The filing of a charge sheet leads to the initiation of Criminal Proceedings. The magistrate can then summon the accused in Court.
  • It is necessary for the accused to attend the court. If the accused is taking shelter in a foreign country and refuses to appear the Passport Authority can suspend the Passport and intimate the same to the concerned authority in foreign country making the stay of the accused in that country illegal and making him vulnerable to deportation.
  • If it is feared the accused can abscond to a foreign country the police may seize the passport and request the Passport Authority to impound the passport.

Look Out Circular (LOC)

It is a circular letter issued by the authorities when a person is wanted by the police or the Court. It is used at immigration checks at International Borders in order to catch the accused and restrict him or her from leaving the country. It can be issued by the SP of Police and the District Magistrate to make sure the accused cannot find a safe haven abroad.

In order to find further information about the procedure to file a complaint and initiate court proceedings please contact us.

Conclusion

The law has evolved to provide suitable remedies against those who cheat on their wife and abscond after marriage. This Article addresses the remedies available to the wife in such cases.

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