When an NRI family visits India , it is celebration time for the relatives and friends. With awe and admiration, they hear their tales of the American dream, the high life of London, the German experience or the Australian escapades.
Significantly, these visits are no longer about holidaying but about firming up business deals and academic tie-ups. India's growth process does create enormous opportunities for cross-border flow of trade, capital and technology and the NRIs are not failing in their duty in this regard.
One is always reminded of the NRIs' remittances. According to the Reserve Bank of India, the net flows through various NRI deposits has surged from $179 million in 2008 to $3,999 million in 2009. This is an indication of the Indian Diaspora's immense faith in the Indian economy.
But then, this is only one side of the story. Even as the NRI population has been increasing, its family and legal problems are multiplying day by day- fake marriages, abandoned brides in distress due to runaway foreign country resident Indian spouses, non-resident spouse seeking enforcement of foreign divorce decree in India, parents' desperate bid for child support and maintenance, deceased NRI's children seeking transfer of properties in India and their repatriation to foreign shores and so on.
Surprisingly, though there are over 30 million NRIs living in 110 countries, there is no suitable family law for them. Family law disputes and situations in foreign jurisdictions are handicapped for want of proper professional information and advice on Indian laws.
Jurisdictional problems occur frequently regarding dissolution of marriage, inter-parental child abduction, inter-country child adoption and succession of property of NRIs. There are also problems in matters like succession, transfer of property, banking affairs, taxation, execution and implementation of Wills.
The writer, an expert of family law, has made significant contribution to the subject in the book. It is basically a compilation of his articles published in various newspapers, including The Tribune, over the years. It provides a wealth of information, including case studies, on the problems and issues pertaining to the NRIs.
In foreword, Law Commission of India Chairman Justice AR. Lakshmanan has hailed the book as a "focused study on every conceivable issue with which an NRI is connected." In Preface, Mr. Ram Niwas Mirdha, President, Indian Society of International Law, has described it as a "unique compendium".
Considering the fact that no intensive study has been undertaken on the subject so far, the book is expected to fill the gap in this critical area. It can be treated as a good reference volume for policymakers, judges, advocates and public libraries. The writer's efforts in bringing out the volume are commendable. At the same time, there is an imperative need to restructure the contents for making the book more reader-friendly and enhancing its reach to wider sections.
The Law Commission of India, in its 219 th Report (March 2009), has examined some of the issues covered in the book and made a number of useful recommendations. The Centre would do well to implement them with a sense of urgency.