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Laws Every Indian Citizen Must Know 

Warning: The laws shared in this article can be subject to future amendments so, please be prudent and do further research. The article was last updated on the 3rd of April 2022.

It is fair to be not aware of everything going around the world but there are some things that one must know — one’s own rights. Knowing these basic human rights should not only be important but a right in itself.

Sadly, for our society, learning about our legal rights is not a priority. For a majority, living a mundane life, completing daily chores, and only caring about the present is what matters. And there’s not much we can do about it, it is how it is has been for so long.

Being aware of our rights is not something we learned growing up, so it never became a priority and because of this attitude, there are so many of us who are constantly being duped and deceived. What is even sadder is that a majority of times, people are getting deceived by the ones who are meant to protect us.

Did you know that a little over 30 mg. of alcohol can lead you behind bars? Or did you know that a police officer is not allowed to refuse to lodge your complaint?

Or did you know that not even a 5-star hotel can’t prohibit you from using their washrooms or drinking water? So, the next time you want to use a loo, don’t be afraid — enter the 5-star washroom and use the washroom there.

Well, there’s plenty more… so much more that one article won’t be enough. Well, with this article, a journey will begin — a journey of learning about one’s own rights.

Knowing these rights can not only help you from being duped but also help you in protecting someone else’s rights as well.

So, let’s begin and look at the myriad of laws provided by the various Indian legislations that not only protect us but also stop us from committing any harm to any party.

  1. No Police Office Can Refuse to File An FIR – A police officer cannot decline to register an FIR under any circumstance as per section 166A of the IPC. The refusal of an officer to do so is a crime punishable by 6 months to a year in prison.
  2. Police Officer is Never Off-Duty – The purpose of the 1861 Police Act was to reorganise the police force and make it a more effective tool for crime prevention and detection. A police officer, whether in uniform or not, is never off-duty under it. If someone approaches a police officer for assistance, the officer cannot reject by claiming that they are not on duty.
  3. Zero FIR – In the instance of a cognizable offence, a zero FIR can be filed in any police station, regardless of the jurisdiction of the crime. In most cases, an FIR must be filed in the crime scene or the victim’s residence. This Zero FIR right, on the other hand, permits you to file a police report at any police station. A police officer cannot refuse a citizen this privilege, and if he or she does, the officer may be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code.
  4. One Cannot Be Put Behind Bars Without Letting Them Know The Offence – Art. 22 of the Indian Constitution allows for preventative detention. Any individual apprehended must be informed of the reason for their arrest before being held in jail. Furthermore, they have the right to consult with and be represented by a lawyer of their choosing.
  5. No Woman Can Be Arrested – No woman can be arrested before 6 a.m. or after 6 p.m as per section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
  6. PDA illegal? Public Display of Affection (PDA) is a crime under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code. It does, however, state that “obscene activities” in public spaces are punishable. The term obscene isn’t defined in this context. As a result, police officers abuse it.
  7. Live-in Relationship – According to the Domestic Violence Act, if a young boy (around the age of 21) and a girl (around the age of 18) want to live together — they can. Although the issue in itself is a bit dispute, as of the publishing of this article, a young boy and girl can be in a “live-in relationship”.
  8. Status of children born out of a live-in relationship – As per the Domestic Violence Act, a newborn baby born out of a live-in relationship will be considered a legal child under the eyes of the law, and hence, the child will have the right to the assets of the father’s property.
  9. Women’s Right to Divorce – Adultery, domestic violence, impotence, desertion, conversion of religion, mental abnormality, incurable disease, venereal disease, or their spouse being missing for seven years are all grounds for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, Parsi Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act, and Indian Divorce Act. Furthermore, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, often known as the Triple Talaq Act, grants these rights to Muslim women. In addition, if their husband is convicted of rape, sodomy, or bestiality, women are given additional rights in divorce.
  10. Divorce in India – Within six months, divorce by mutual consent can be obtained, although no petition in such a case can be submitted within the first year of marriage. Between the first and second motions, there must be a six-month break. In some situations, the court may waive the cooling-off period.
  11. The Consumer’s Right to a Refund – Under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, a consumer has a right to receive a complete refund if he/she is not satisfied with their purchase. Section 14 further provides actions that can be taken in the case one is not satisfied or suffered from any defects.
  12. Salary? The Payment of Wages Act of 1936 mandates that employees be paid by the 7th of each month.
  13. Equal Pay? Article 39 (d) of the Constitution provides equal compensation for equal work performed by men and women. As a result, the pay disparity between men and women is generally unconstitutional.
  14. Violation Towards the Tax Officer – According to the Income-tax Act of 1961, the tax collecting officer has the right to arrest the violator in cases of tax evasion, but first he must issue a notice. Only the tax commissioner has the authority to determine how long someone will be held in custody.

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