Consular Services

FAQ on Gender Issues

What is the objective of the scheme for Indian Women Deserted by their Overseas Indian Spouses?

The scheme is a welfare measure to support women of Indian origin who have been deserted by their overseas Indian spouses fraudulently, through the mobilization of the local Indian community in the endeavor and with some financial assistance from the Government. The objective of the scheme is to provide some financial assistance for providing legal services to needy women.

Who is eligible for assistance under the scheme?

The assistance would be available to women who have been deserted by their overseas Indian spouses or are facing divorce proceedings in a foreign country subject to the following conditions:

  • The woman is an Indian passport holder.
  • The marriage of the woman has been solemnized and registered in India.
  • The woman is deserted in India or after reaching abroad within five years of the marriage.
  • Divorce proceedings are initiated within five years of the marriage by her overseas Indian spouse.
  • An ex-parte divorce has been obtained by the overseas Indian spouse within 10 years of marriage and a case for maintenance and alimony is to be filed
  • The scheme would not be available to a woman facing criminal charges or having a criminal case decided against her.
  • 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 spouse or in India at the time of making the application.
  • Preference may be given to applicants on the basis of financial needs.
  • Assistance will be limited to meeting initial cost and incidental charges for documentation and filing of the case by the Indian Women’s Organization/NGO on the woman’s behalf.
  • The assistance will be limited to US $1000 per case and will be released to the Indian community organizations/NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case.
  • The women’s organization/NGO will make efforts to enlist community advocates, preferably women advocates, to extend further legal assistance/ appearance in court etc on a pro-bono basis.
How will the counseling and legal services be provided to them?

The counseling and legal services would be provided through credible Indian Women's Organizations/Indian Community Associations and NGOs identified for providing such services and empanelled with the Indian Missions in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Gulf.

Is there a form to apply for assistance under the scheme?

A form is available on the website which after completing can be forwarded either to the concerned Indian embassy/Mission/Post or to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. The applications for providing legal aid received by the Indian Missions/Posts would be examined by an officer designated by the Head of the Mission/Post on case-to-case basis and approved by Head of Mission/Deputy Chief of the Mission/Post.

Who should I apply to?

The applications received in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs will be examined by an internal committee consisting of a legal advisor and an officer of the rank of Director/Deputy Secretary and approved by Secretary. Thereafter, the Ministry will recommend the case to Mission concerned to provide legal aid support. The applicant would also be informed to approach the Mission concerned in this regard.