NRI Commissions in India

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The NRI Commission is a body that was established by the Indian government to help NRIs settle their disputes. The Commission has been given wide-ranging powers, including the ability to fine people who have committed crimes in India, but there are still some issues with how legally binding these decisions are.

What is the NRI Commission? 

NRI Commission is a body that is set up by the State Government to help Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in resolving their issues and problems. Usually, the NRI Commissions are headed by retired judges of the High Court or Supreme Court.

The purpose of these commissions is to ensure that justice is done for all people who come from other countries to India. These bodies have been set up to deal with issues such as citizenship rights, and property ownership rights, which may arise while living abroad but then return home after some time expires.

How Legally Binding is the Judgements of NRI Commissions in India?

The Judgements of NRI Commissions are not legally binding in India. These Judgements are only advisory and cannot be enforced by the Courts. The Government can ignore such Judgements at its discretion if it so wishes to do so.

Which Indian States have NRI Commissions?

  • The legislative bodies of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been asked to look into the possibility of setting up an NRI commission in those states.

  • The draft bill will define the powers and functions of these commissions and also provide for their appointment process. It will be sent to the state government for approval before being introduced in Parliament for passage into law.
  • The NRI commission in each state will be headed by a chairperson, who will be a retired judge of the high court or Supreme Court. The commission would also have two members, one of whom could be a retired judge of the high court or Supreme Court.

What are the powers of NRI Commissions in those states?

The NRI Commissions are the principal bodies in charge of providing relief to NRIs. They help those who have gone overseas and cannot return to India due to reasons such as political instability or natural disasters.

These commissions’ authority varies from state to state, but they often have the following authority:

  • To deal with cases related to property registration and transfer
  • To take up issues related to inheritance tax (IHT) and  income tax
  • To resolve family disputes arising from marriages conducted by NRIs
  • To assist with education and training

What Do the State NRI Commissions Do?

  • To assist NRIs in settling disputes.
  • To help NRIs get passports, visas, and other travel documents issued by Indian Missions abroad.
  • To assist NRIs in resolving issues related to land, property, and bank accounts.
  • To assist NRIs in resolving issues related to insurance policies (including life and general).
  • When an insured person dies while they are outside India or when their policy lapses due to non-payment of premiums during his/her lifetime and then the beneficiary gets notified by post or through fax he/she will have no other option but file a claim with his agent or broker who might be working under someone else’s name but not residing here himself (or herself). The agent would take care of all legal formalities such as filing a police complaint against unidentified people who damaged properties owned by him/her but after that, there would be no one else whom you can ask for further assistance regarding your claim until it’s settled completely!

What Powers Do the State NRI Commissions Have?

The NRI Commissions have the power to issue summons and demand information from the parties involved in a dispute. The Commission can impose penalties on the parties involved in a dispute, as well as order an investigation into it.

The State NRI Commissions in India are governed by various laws such as:

  • Income Tax Act 1961 (ITA)
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA)
  • Companies Act 2013

What does the Government Want? 

  • The government wants to make the NRI Commissions more effective.
  • The government wants to make the NRI Commissions more transparent.

Problem Areas

The following are some of the problems that NRI commissions face:

  • Not all countries have a legal system that allows for binding judgments.
  • Some countries may not be able to enforce a legal judgment in another country, even if they wanted to.
  • Judgments may be void or unenforceable because they were made without proper jurisdiction (e.g., when one party didn’t live in that country).

Are the Judgements of NRI Commissions Legally Binding?

The NRI Commission is a quasi-judicial body. Its recommendations are not binding on the government, which can accept, reject or modify them as it sees fit. However, some provisions require an NRI to abide by the same rules as Indian citizens while they are in India. For example, an NRI must pay taxes on their income in India and file returns with his/her local tax collector every year (this applies even if he/she does not own property here).

The Commission’s Suggestions

The Commission’s recommendations are not binding on the government. It can accept or reject them and may also set up an additional body to review decision-making and implementation of laws. However, it cannot amend the law in any way that would conflict with the recommendations made by the earlier Commissions or courts based on those recommendations.

The government has been using some of these mechanisms to resolve disputes between NRIs and local authorities over land ownership issues since 1991 when there was a huge influx of NRIs into India after liberalization policies were implemented by then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party government (1990-2004).

Summary of NRI Commission 

  • NRI commissions are a part of the state governments.
  • NRI commissions are not legally binding.
  • They are a part of the state government, but not a part of the judiciary.
  • They are not a part of the judiciary and they cannot be challenged in court or filed with courts to seek justice or redress for grievances when required by law (as it happens in other countries).

The NRI commissions should remain relevant, in our judgment. Additionally, they must operate independently of the government and with self-regulatory mechanisms. This article has provided you with some insight into how these organizations function and what part they play in ensuring that Indian individuals are not subjected to discrimination because of their nationality.