The revised Scheme to provide legal /financial assistance to such Indian women through the Indian Missions/Posts overseas has come into effect from November, 2011. This was launched in February, 2007 to assist the deserted or divorced overseas Indian women. The details of the scheme are available on MOIA’s website “http://moia.gov.in/”. A recent review of the Scheme undertaken by MOIA and the scope and eligibility criteria of the scheme have been expanded. The salient features of the revised Scheme are the following:-
· The scheme would be available to Indian women who have been deserted by their overseas Indian / foreign husbands or are facing divorce proceedings in a foreign country, subject to the following conditions:-
· The marriage of the woman has been solemnized in India or overseas with an overseas Indian or a foreigner
· The woman is deserted in India or overseas within fifteen years of the marriage; or
· Divorce proceedings are initiated within fifteen years of the marriage by her overseas Indian / foreign husband; or
· An ex-parte divorce has been obtained by the overseas Indian / foreign husband within twenty years of marriage and a case for maintenance and alimony is to be filed by her.
· The scheme would not be available to a woman having a criminal case decided against her, provided that a criminal charge of Parental Child Abduction shall not be a bar if the custody of the child has not yet been adjudicated upon. The domicile of the woman seeking relief under the Scheme is not relevant for allowing the benefit. The woman may be domiciled in the country of her overseas Indian / foreigner husband or in India at the time of making the application.
· Assistance will be provided to meet the initial legal and other costs, by the Heads of Indian Missions/Posts overseas directly to the applicant’s legal counsel empanelled with the concerned Indian Mission/Post, or through the Indian Community Associations / Women’s organizations / NGOs* acting on the woman’s behalf in an overseas legal institution.
· The assistance will be limited to US$ 3000 per case in developed countries and US$ 2000 per case in developing countries and will be released to the empanelled legal counsel of the applicant or Indian Community Association / Women’s organization / NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case.