Code of Criminal Procedure Current Affairs - 2020

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Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019

The government has introduced the Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019 in the Parliament. The bill was introduced by the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in the Rajya Sabha.

Features of the Bill

The Bill aims to arrest the cases of Indian women being trapped in fraudulent marriages with non-resident Indians (NRI). The important features of the bill are:

  • The bill mandates the Non-Resident Indians who marry an Indian citizen or a fellow NRI abroad to compulsorily register their marriages within 30 days.
  • Failure to register their marriage would face the prospects of their passports being impounded or even revoked.
  • The bill allows courts to attach movable and immovable properties of NRIs who are declared “proclaimed offenders” for failing to appear before the law.
  • The bill allows courts to send summonses and warrants to the accused through a specially designated website to be hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The bill amends the Passport Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure to allow passport authorities to revoke or impound passport or travel documents of the accused, and allow courts to attach their properties.
  • The bill clearly states that if an NRI marries an Indian citizen here, the marriage has to be registered as per local laws and if the marriage takes place abroad, it has to be registered with designated officers to be appointed in foreign countries.

The Bill proposes to offer greater protection to Indian women married to NRIs and serve as a deterrent to NRIs against harassment of their spouses.

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Long cohabitation is presumed marriage: SC

Supreme Court has upheld presumption that couple who live together as husband and wife are legally married and woman can claim maintenance under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ). The apex court held that law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage when man and woman have cohabited continuously for a number of years.

Court Ruling

Man who lived with woman for long time and even though they may not have undergone legal necessities of valid marriage is liable to pay the woman maintenance if he deserts her. In this case, man should not be allowed to benefit from legal loopholes by enjoying advantages of de facto marriage without undertaking duties and obligations. Any other interpretation in this case will lead woman to vagrancy and destitution, which provision of maintenance in Section 125 of CrPC is meant to prevent.

Background

This judgment of SC was based on appeal filed by woman against Karnataka High Court decision of June 2009. The High Court had set aside family court order, directing man she lived with since 1998 and had two children by to pay maintenance. Their relationship in this case was solemnised in a temple and husband of woman had later abandoned the family. The family court had ordered him to pay maintenance to woman and their children on monthly basis. This court had held the couple is accepted as husband and wife by society. The man had however had moved appeal in High Court, which pronounced that there was no proof that she was his legally-wedded wife.

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