Gone are the days where only Indian women would be conned by NRI men. An extremely worrying trend has been witnessed in the state of Punjab, where several Men have been cheated, looted and dumped by local women on pretext of ‘Contract Marriage’.
What is Contract Marriage?
Contract Marriage is a mutual agreement signed between the groom and bride, confirming that they are getting married. The same is done in presence of both side families. The brides are usually qualified with an IELTS certification who intend to migrate to a foreign country. In the bargain, the groom’s family is expected to spend anywhere between Rs 25-40 Lakhs on the woman, that will cover her visa, travel and institutional fees and security money as well. The agreement is signed and executed on condition that the woman will call her husband to her new country of residence once she settles in.
Contract Marriage Fraud
Arguably, the state of Punjab has become a hub for contract marriage fraud. According to a report in Dainik Bhaskar, nearly 3600 Punjabi men have lost Rs 150 crore in the past 5-years due to this scam. Out of this number, 3300+ complaints have been registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 3000 complaints pertain from the state of Punjab. The state has witnessed nearly 200 complaints in similar cases in the last 6-months.
In most cases, after the groom’s side has financed the bride’s migration, women refuse to call their husbands to join them. Instead, they make excuses and compel the men to sign up for divorce.
About IELTS Exam
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to help you work, study or migrate to a country where English is the native language. This includes countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA. It is globally recognised by more than 10,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies including 3,400 institutions in the USA.
Boys From Well-To-Do Families Are Trapped
There are agents who visit villages and smaller towns, speak to wealthy families of Men who are not so educated and inform them about various girls who have passed IELTS exam. Later, they lay condition of sponsoring the woman through the route of contract marriage, so that their son too can settle in a foreign land and also get a green card.
Nearly 200 cases of fraud have been registered in Punjab in past 6-months, where 70 pertain to Jalandhar and 30 pertain to Ludhiana in just last 3-months.
Few Cases Recorded
- Raghuveer Singh, SI from Jalandhar, got his son Gurvinder Singh married to a woman named Parneet Kaur. The man’s family spent nearly Rs 23 lakh on sending the bride abroad. After reaching her destination, she stopped answering calls and demanded divorce
- Gurjeevan Singh from Sangrur district spent Rs 30.14 lakh on his wife Prabhjyot Kaur after the two got married in December 2019. After reaching Canada, Kaur did not want her husband to join her
- Manjeet Singh from Fategarh Sahab district spent Rs 13 lakh and sent his wife Kiran Kaur to Canada. After reaching there, Kiran labelled such a marriage as farce and refused to accept Manjeet as her husband
- Bhupinder Singh from Moga spent Rs 30 lakh on Pawandeep Kaur and sent her to Canada. When the woman denied calling him to join her, Singh became mentally ill and an additional Rs 40 lakh had to be spent on his treatment
- Mandeep Singh from Jalandhar married Pradeep Kaur in September 2019 and spent Rs 25 lakh to send his wife to Canada. Pradeep reached her destination and even demanded Rs 10 lakh additionally. After receiving money, she refused to call Mandeep to Canada
Legal Options for Men
According to Advocate Daljit Kaur of Punjab and Haryana High Court, the state is witnessing contract marriage fraud almost on a daily basis. In such instances, police are merely registering a case under Section 420 & Section 120 of the IPC.
Men and their families, who get duped by such con women, have to undergo financial, social and mental suffering. Kaur says that these women reach abroad and start divorce process. Local police is hand tied as they can only register a case of cheating and can’t do much once the women have fled the country. Men and their families do not get any justice and keep waiting endlessly for years.
In such a scenario, Daljit Kaur has demanded change in existing laws, where such fraud women can be deported back to India and face the system.
NRI Men who Abandon Wives in India
In March 2019, the Government of India cancelled passports of 45 non-resident Indians for abandoning their wives as per statement released by then Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
The Integrated Nodal Agency made to look into the matter also issued Look-Out Circulars to absconding husbands in cases of NRI marriages and 45 passports had been impounded by the External Affairs Ministry, Maneka Gandhi then said. The agency was chaired by secretary in the women and child development ministry, Rakesh Srivastava.
Maneka Gandhi also said that the government has also introduced a Bill in Rajya Sabha to give justice to the women who have been abandoned by their NRI husbands, but expressed dismay that the Bill had got stalled in the upper House.
- The crux of all these inequalities in the law is the absence of Commission / Ministry for Men
- Currently, women in India who face domestic violence or desertion by their husbands, have several forums to reach out and get justice
- The police is also prompt in extending their support to women in distress
- Men, on other hand, are looked upon as criminals the minute there is any marital dispute between them and their wives
- Police too, often does not register any case – that a husband may want to file against his wife – He is returned home brushing the matter off as family matter
- False dowry and domestic violence cases by such women also cannot be ruled out, since they want to divorce these men under any circumstances
- In our urge to give justice to only one gender, we as country, are failing to give equal justice to the other forgotten gender – The Men