15 Essential Legal Rights and Laws Every Indian Should Know

These are 15 such important laws and legal rights that every Indian should know.

1. Refusal to Register an FIR:

Police officers cannot refuse to write your First Information Report (FIR), if they do so, they can be jailed for 6 months to 1 year.

~ Indian Penal Code, 166A

2. Right to Water and Washroom in Hotels:

No hotel, even if it is 5-star, can stop you from drinking water and using the washroom for free.

The act governs hotels and inns’ duty to provide reasonable services and access to basic amenities. Denying access to water and washrooms could be considered a violation of this duty.

~ Indian Service Act 1887

3. Adultery Law (Repealed):

Section 497 of the IPC previously criminalized adultery, but only for men. It was deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory and was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018.

If any married man has physical relations with an unmarried girl or widow woman with her consent, then it does not come under the category of crime.

~ Indian Penal Code Adultery, Section 498

4. Drunk Driving:

If the level of alcohol in your 100ml blood is found to be more than 30mg while driving, then the police can arrest you without a warrant.

First-time offenders can face imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine up to ₹10,000. Subsequent offences carry harsher penalties.

~ Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, Section -185,202

5. Arrest of Women:

Women cannot be arrested between sunset and sunrise unless there are exceptional circumstances and a written order from a magistrate is obtained.

“No woman can be arrested after 6 pm and before 6 am.”

~ Criminal Procedure Code, Section 46

6. Live-in Relationships and Child’s Rights:

If two adult boys and girls want to live in a live-in relationship of their own free will, then it is not illegal. Moreover, the child born to them is also not illegal and the child will also get rights in the property of his father.

~ Domestic Violence Act, 2005

7. Police Officers on Duty:

A police officer is always on duty whether he is wearing a uniform or not. If a person complains to this officer, then he cannot say that he cannot help the victim because he is not on duty.

~ Indian Police Act, 1861

8. Termination of Pregnant Employees:

No company can fire a pregnant woman from her job, doing so can result in a maximum punishment of 3 years.

This law protects the economic security and health of pregnant women and new mothers.

~ Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

9. Traffic Police Powers:

Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for drivers to wear helmets. Section 128 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for two persons to sit on a bike. But it is absolutely illegal for the traffic police to take out the keys from a car or motorcycle. For this, if you want, you can also take legal action against that constable/officer.

~ Motor Vehicles Act

  1. Arrest for Tax Violation:

In case of tax violation, the tax recovery officer has the right to arrest you but before arresting you, he will have to send you a notice. Only the tax commissioner decides how long you have to be in custody.

Section 276C of the act deals with the willful attempt to evade tax, while Section 276CC addresses the failure to furnish returns of income.

~ Income Tax Act, 1961

11. Arrest of Women:

Under Section 46(4), only female policemen can arrest women and bring them to the police station. Male policemen do not have the right to arrest women. Not only this, women can refuse to go to the police station between 6 pm and 6 am. In case of a serious crime, a male policeman can arrest a woman only after receiving a written order from the magistrate.

~ Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

12. Accepting Gifts from Companies:

If you accept a gift or gratification from a company on the occasion of a festival, it comes under the category of bribe. You can also be punished for this crime.

Additionally, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA), restricts certain organizations from accepting foreign contributions without prior permission.

~ Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 2010

13. Maximum Retail Price (MRP):

No shopkeeper can ask for more money than the MRP printed on a product, but the consumer can bargain with the shopkeeper to buy the product at a price lower than the MRP.

The Legal Metrology Act, 2009, and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, govern the display and adherence to MRP.

~ Maximum Retail Price Act, 2014

14. Recovery of Unpaid Salary:

If your office does not pay you salary, then you can file a report against it anytime within 3 years. But if you report after 3 years, then you will not get anything.

The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, provides a mechanism for employees to recover unpaid wages. The Limitation Act, 1963, sets a time limit (usually three years) within which legal action for recovery must be initiated.

~ Limitation Act, 1963

15. Obscene Acts in Public Places:

If you are found involved in “obscene activity” in public places, then you can also be imprisoned for up to 3 months. But since there is no clear definition of “obscene activity”, the police misuse this law.

~ Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.


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