Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday that the Centre is considering changes in criminal law that will allow property of Non-Resident Indian men who desert their wives to be confiscated, the Hindustan Times reported. The new law will also allow for prosecution of NRIs who do not answer summons.

“If three notices have been served [to the husband on the ministry’s website] and the person does not appear, it will be assumed that he is evading summons and will be treated as an absconder,” Women and Child Development Secretary Rakesh Srivastava said. “The enforcement agencies will be authorised to attach the property of such persons and their families.”

Srivastava said that the Ministry of External Affairs had already written to the Ministry of Home Affairs, proposing changes to the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had headed an inter-ministerial panel to review the legal and regulatory challenges faced by women who are deserted by NRI men.

Currently, a woman has to first file a police complaint. The police write to the embassy, which then tries to issue summons to the NRI husband.