Seventy years ago, India celebrated his Independence; now, 70 years later, India is as far away as possible from the country It was meant to become. Corruption, the lack of law and order, and the fact that laws are blatantly broken, is just another day in the life of an Indian. Yes, this is a dreary picture and we dare not ask if this can get drearier because it most certainly can and it most certainly will.
We have laws, but we’re blissfully unaware of our most basic laws, which enable us to our most basic rights! How many times have you had second thoughts about filing a complaint because the authorities wouldn’t be bothered or worse still, bend laws to make their life easier? How many times have you just let something be swept under the carpet because you didn’t know that this was something you could report? How many times have you scrambled trying to figure out what your basic right were because you know nothing about the basic laws?
Seventy years since India’s Independence Day – it’s high time to introduce ourselves to basic laws that affect our lives.
VidhiVetta Law Firm tells you about 12 must-know laws that ensure you stay on the right side of your rights.
1) Whenever a person is arrested, he should be produced before a magistrate or judge within 24 hours of his arrest. No one can be detained by the police beyond the 24-hour period.
2) Any person arrested must be medically examined by a doctor from an independent and approved panel of doctors, every 48 hours during detention.
3) When arrested, it is the right of every detained person to know the grounds for detention or questioning.
4) If a police officer fails to or refuses to record your initial complaint, he can receive a jail term of six months to two years.
5) Whenever a person is arrested, police officials must wear visible and legible identification when arresting a person and when carrying out interrogation. Names and particulars of police personnel handling interrogation must be recorded in the register.
6) In case a police officer asks someone to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test, the person must obey. If he refuses or fails to do so and the policeman have reasonable cause to suspect him of having alcohol in his blood, and he can be arrested without a warrant, unless he is hospitalised.
7) The Criminal Law Act underwent a drastic change last year with each crime being defined under separate sections of the IPC. Here’s what you should know about the Criminal Law Act 2013:
326 A – Acid Attack – A minimum imprisonment of 10 years, which could extend to life imprisonment. The perpetrator will be fined after a consultation with doctors treating the victim, who will then decide on an appropriate figure.
326 B – Attempt to attack someone with Acid – Minimum imprisonment of five years, which could up to seven years and the perpetrator, will be fined as well.
354 A – Sexual Harassment – Rigorous imprisonment of up to five years or a fine, or in most cases both.
354 B – Intending to disrobe a woman – minimum imprisonment of three years, this may go up to seven years along with a fine.
354 C – Voyeurism – In case of first conviction, imprisonment not less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
354 D – Stalking – Imprisonment not less than one year but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine
8) Protection against arrest and detention
Whenever a person is arrested, he should be informed of the grounds for arrest and should be allowed to consult and to be defended by a legal practitioner of his or her choice.
9) Considering that there is absolutely no semblance of driving etiquette, Sec 121 of the Motor Vehicles Act is far from being implemented. While driving signalling by the driver regarding his/her intentions to stop or take a left or right turn is mandatory. If he does not do so, the driver can be prosecuted under Sec 121 of MV act!
10) Staying with the Motor Vehicle Act, here are a few things you should know about Section 202:
A Police Officer in uniform may arrest without warrant any person who in his presence commits an offence punishable under Section 184 (dangerous driving) or Section 185 (drunken driving).
Simply put, a police officer doesn’t need a warrant to arrest you if he feels you’ve committed a driving offence under dangerous driving and/or drunk driving.
11) The legal drinking age varies with each state in India. So, while the legal drinking age in Maharashtra, Punjab, Meghalaya, Haryana, Delhi is 25 years; states such as Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal is 21; Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh is 18; and alcohol consumption is banned completely in Gujarat, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Lakshadweep.
12) Adultery in India is a criminal offence. Section 497 of the IPC criminalizes adultery. It makes an offence for a man to have sex with a married woman, and if caught and convicted, he can be jailed for up to 5 years. The wife is not held liable in this case. Moreover, a married man who has sex with an unmarried woman is also not liable in any way – his marital status is of no consequence!