As a law firm, we would like to provide an informative and detailed opinion on the status of Non Resident Indians (NRI) in Hindu law, as well as their legal standing under Indian legislation. The Manusmriti, an ancient source of Hindu law, classified NRIs as “anantajas,” or infinite souls who are always in motion. This classification highlights the transient nature of NRI life and emphasizes their duty towards family and ancestors.
The Manusmriti also prescribed rituals for NRIs to perform even when living abroad. Chapter 3, verse 107-108 outlines this provision wherein it specifically states that an NRI must not forget his/her roots by keeping a connection with family members back home through communication channels such as letter writing or phone calls.
In modern times, there are several laws and regulations related to NRI affairs in India; one notable example is the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Passed by Parliament in 1999, FEMA regulates foreign exchange transactions within India including those involving NRIs. It lays out specific guidelines for repatriation of funds from India into other countries for investment purposes or any other legitimate reasons.
Additionally, FEMA mandates that certain types of investments made by NRIs require prior approval from relevant authorities such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). These include investments in real estate properties located outside India or investments above a certain threshold amount specified by RBI.
Furthermore, there have been several case laws highlighting the importance of FEMA compliance among NRIs. For instance ,CIT v/s S.V.G.Sadagoppan  ITAT concluded that asset transfers between two different accounts held by an NRI requires adherence to FEMA guidelines regarding remittance limits and documentation requirement .
Another important case is Reserve Bank Of India v/s Peerless General Finance And Investment Company Ltd & Ors  SC which established that “non-resident Indians” fall within the ambit of the FEMA regulations and are subject to its provisions related to transactions involving foreign exchange.
One more key case worth mentioning is Satish Chander Anand v/s Union Of India  SC where NRIs were found to be required to obtain RBI approval prior to transferring funds into bank accounts in India that had been dormant for a specific period. This ruling highlights the need for NRIs to stay updated about any changes or updates in FEMA regulations as they can have serious legal implications if violated.
In conclusion, NRIs hold a unique status under Hindu law and are subject to various laws and regulations pertaining to their affairs within India. It is highly recommended that an NRI consults experienced legal counsel before undertaking any financial transaction or investment activity concerning India. Adherence to these guidelines will help avoid unnecessary legal complications and ensure compliance with relevant legislation, including FEMA.