As a practicing lawyer for last 17 years I find these legalities ordinary people are not aware of:

  • If you are an accused of aggravated rape under section 376(2), i.e raping a minor, gang rape or rape in custody etc, it is you who have the burden to prove that you did not do the rape. No eyewitness, no medical examination, no marks of resistance, no hymen tear/rupture required to be proved. Mere allegation of a girl/woman could lead you to punishment. Even in cases of rape under 376(1) conviction of the accused can be based solely on the evidence of the prosecutrix if her evidence is “worthy of credence” the Rule of Corroboration is not Rule of Law, it a only Rule of Prudence it is advisable but it is not compulsory in the eye of law. You could be prosecuted for raping even a prostitute if she is not willing to have a second round with you, your girlfriend (even if you stay in a live in together). Once they assert that in the one “act” she was not willing, it is rape. People even demanded marital rape with wife but God forbids it has not been accepted yet. Everybody will be a rapist then, even Supreme Court judges. IPC Section 375 – Rape
  • In a case of prostitution, the prostitute herself is not an accused but a victim. A woman cannot be prosecuted to sell her body but the customer (in some cases) and pimp and brothel owner or anybody living off the income of prostitutes could be punished. THE IMMORAL TRAFFIC (PREVENTION) ACT, 1956 defines “prostitution” means the sexual exploitation or abuse of persons for commercial purpose, and the expression “prostitute” shall be construed accordingly. Although, openly seeking “clients” on public place or showing vulgarity could be punishable though. Many times, Supreme Court has asked central govt to decriminalize and regulate it but considering moral taboo, no govt could take any action in this regard, so far.
  • As per The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 If the minor of age seventeen have committed a heinous crime and has been apprehended below the age of twenty-one year then the prescribed punishment is based on evaluation of mental and physical capacity, etc., may be tried as a child (max. three years) or adult (more than seven years). So a 17 year old boy having consensual physical relation with a 17 year girl could be punished for upto 7 years in jail but not vice versa.
  • Manufacturing kites and Baloons used to be crimes under The Aircraft Act, 1934, It defines aircraft as” Section 2 (1) “aircraft” means any machine which can derive support in the atmosphere from reactions of the air, [other than reactions of the air against the earth’s surface] and includes balloons whether fixed or free, airships, kites, gliders and flying machines;

So you may be asked to obtain a license to manuafacture such aircrafts as baloons and kites and your such “aircrafts” could be detained for violation.

Edit: Centre’s clean-up act: Modi government terminates 1,500 archaic laws

While successive governments could remove just 1,301 obsolete laws which came in the way of smooth administration and economic growth in 66 years, the present central government has managed to weed out as many as 1,500 Acts in just three years that includes this Act too. So a permit is no longer need to fly a baloon or kite. PM himself did fly a kite with Salman.

Old Aircraft Act
*Old Aircraft Act, rest in peace.

  • Even a husband could seek maintenance from his wife under Section 24 in The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

24 Maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings. —Where in any proceeding under this Act it appears to the court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of the wife or the husband, order the respondent to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding, and monthly during the proceeding such sum as, having regard to the petitioner’s own income and the income of the respondent, it may seem to the court to be reasonable. However, the husband will have to satisfy the court that either due to physical or mental disability he is handicapped to earn and support his livelihood.

  • Sedition, i.e. bringing hatred against the government under Section 124A in The Indian Penal Code is only offence that could lead you to any punishment ranging from only fine to life imprisonment.
  • When putting thumb impression is mandatory upon any document Right hand thumb impression in case of Female, and Left hand thumb impression in case of Male.
  • Do not give any motor vehicle to any minor without license as under Section 199A(2) of The Motor Vehicle Act prescribes even jail to the owner of vehicle “such guardian or owner shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine of twenty-five thousand rupees.” You should also know that it is mandatory to wear shoes while riding a two wheeler and if you are not obeying the same, you could be fined by a traffic challan for the same.
  • Right of civilians to arrest a criminal: Section 43 CrPC empowers any civilian to arrest a criminal if a crime is committed in his presence or he knows him to be a proclaimed offender(wanted) and hand it over to the nearest police.
  • Right of private defence: Indian penal code:

Section 97. Right of private defence of the body and of property— Every person has a right, subject to the restrictions contained in section 99, to defend—

(First) — His own body, and the body of any other person, against any offence affecting the human body;

(Secondly) —The property, whether movable or immovable, of himself or of any other person, against any act which is an offence falling under the definition of theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass, or which is an attempt to commit theft, rob­bery, mischief or criminal trespass.

  • Goa is only State in India with a Uniform Civil Code. Law of marriage, divorce, succession are mostly common for all Goans irrespective of their religions. The Hindu men have the right to bigamy under specific circumstances mentioned in

Codes of Usages and Customs of Gentile Hindus of Goa (if the wife fails to deliver a child by the age of 25, or if she fails to deliver a male child by the age of 30). For other communities, the law prohibits bigamy. No oral Talaq allowed. Every marriage will be registered.

  • There is no existing law in Kerala that punishes for third child. It was a proposed bill of 2011 which has not been passed yet. I heard this on quora and other sites too but could not locate any such Act in force yet. If I am wrong, provide me with the link of the Act(when a law is passed, it becomes an Act from Bill, Bill is a proposal. For example CAB became CAA.)
  • In her answer to this question, Tejasvita Apte, a famous writer made a very wrong observation:

Age of consent for sex of a girl in India is 18 and not 16. It was 16 earlier till on March 20, as Parliament set 18 as the age-limit under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. Since consent of a minor is immaterial, one will have to face rape case who misconceive it as consensual. Even if she is your wife, it is rape now. India’s New Supreme Court Ruling Will Protect Millions Of Child Brides From Rape Beware.

  • No arrest in dowry related cases or other offences with less than 7 years of imprisonment ordinarily: In a landmark Judgment Supreme Court of India in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar Supreme Court categorically instructed that:

All the State Governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down above flowing from Section 41Cr.PC;

All police officers be provided with a check list containing specified sub- clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii);

The police officer shall forward the check list duly filed and furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest, while forwarding/producing the accused before the Magistrate for further detention;

The Magistrate while authorising detention of the accused shall peruse the report furnished by the police officer in terms aforesaid and only after recording its satisfaction, the Magistrate will authorise detention;

The decision not to arrest an accused, be forwarded to the Magistrate within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case with a copy to the Magistrate which may be extended by the Superintendent of police of the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

Notice of appearance in terms of Section 41A of Cr.PC be served on the accused within two weeks from the date of institution of the case, which may be extended by the Superintendent of Police of the District for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart from rendering the police officers concerned liable for departmental action, they shall also be liable to be punished for contempt of court to be instituted before High Court having territorial jurisdiction.

Authorising detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court.

We hasten to add that the directions aforesaid shall not only apply to the cases under Section 498-A of the I.P.C. or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the case in hand, but also such cases where offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years; whether with or without fine.”

  • No criminal case shall be registered under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (an FIR) against a judge of the High Court, Chief Justice of the High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court unless the government first “consults” the Chief Justice of India. Absolute immunity against criminal prosecution in India is given to President, Governors vide Article 361 of our constitution, Foreign rulers or diplomats (vide Vienna convention and bilateral treaties). A Judicial Officer should be arrested for any offence under intimation to the District Judge or the High Court as the case may be. In case of necessity for immediate arrest of a Judicial Officer only a technical or formal arrest may be effected.
  • You need a permit to buy alcohol in Maharashtra by virtue of Bombay Prohibition Act, now Maharashtra Prohibition Act,1949. Do not worry, if you are over 25 you need to pay just Rs. 5 for foreign liquor permit and Rs. 2 for country liquor permit for a day. This can be obtained online as well as from bars and restaurants. Normally, not having permit is ignored but if someone complains and you get caught drinking without permit even at your home, you could be in trouble. The most weird law I can see. You can drink in even a public place if it is recommended as a medicineSection 40 B(1) says: emergency permits for the use or consumption of brandy, rum or champagne or any other kind of liquor to any person for his own use or consumption or to any head of a household for the use of his household for medicinal use on emergent occasions.
  • THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005 is not a criminal law and there is no FIR under this act. One can merely seek monetary relief, counselling, right to residence and other protection under this Act. Use of the term “violence” makes people feel it as a criminal law like Dowry Act while it is not.
  • Every citizen is liable to report the concerned police/magistrate about commission of all serious offences, he is aware of:

Section 39 of CrPC provides Every person, aware of the commission of, or of the intention of any other person to commit, any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), namely:—

  • offences against the State
  • offences against the public tranquility;
  • offences relating to illegal gratification
  • offences relating to adulteration of food and drugs, etc.;
  • offences affecting life;
  • offence relating to kidnapping for ransom, etc.
  • offence of theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft;
  • offences of robbery and dacoity;
  • offence relating to criminal breach of trust by public servant,
  • offences of mischief against property
  • offence of house trespass
  • offences of lurking house trespass;
  • offences relating to currency notes and bank notes;
  • in the absence of any reasonable excuse, the burden of proving which excuse shall lie upon the person so aware, forthwith give information to the nearest Magistrate or police officer of such commission or intention.

There are number of other lesser known laws, a layman is not supposed to know or even guess or may look weird but still in existence in India. I would add more soon. Please feel free asking for more areas of law in comments.

I wrote another topic regarding myths and misconceptions about courts and lawyers as wrongly depicted by Films and television. A must read: Sumiteshwar Choudhary’s answer to Is it true that a day in prison is counted as 2 days?

Since, it is not possible to put everything in a single topic, I have recently started my space on quora which will bust legal myths spread by mainstream media and started with a very ugly lie spread by India Today. See: Legal awareness

Many other important legal topics have been added to my Space dedicated to raise the level of legal awareness to masses and on lesser known laws. Please join my space to stay updated of the essential laws/legal topics/judgments governing you. Recently added all laws relating to Covid-19Lockdown etc. Sumiteshwar Choudhary’s post in Legal awareness.


Original Article: What are some of the Indian laws that people generally don’t know about?

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