10 common laws that everyone should know

In a democratic country like India, instances are common where people are scammed or deprived of their rightful claims because they were unaware of their rights. Unfortunately, India still has miles to go to educate its common people enough about their rights, but through this article, we can help you to know at least 10 laws that you must know in your everyday life.

Law 1: Stalking or abusing online is a punishable offence

 If you are being stalked online by a person, who is disturbing you with continuous abusive messages, commenting derogatory words on your posts, you do not need to keep silent by just blocking the person.

If the activities have caused you social defamation or a sense of insecurity, you can inform the police. Any kind of online stalking is punishable under Sec. 500 of the Indian Penal Code, with imprisonment for a period up to 2 years, with or without a fine.

Cyberbullying refers to bullying or harassment of any kind inflicted through electronic or communication devices such as computers, mobile phones, laptops, and usually involve text messages, phone calls, e-mails, instant messengers, social media platforms, or chat rooms. It ranges from the posting of hurtful words, derogatory comments, fake information on public forums or blogs to threats to rape or kill.

Bullying traditionally involved a stronger person asserting his or her superiority over a weaker person to his or her advantage. With the advent of the internet, it has become possible for a person with neither superior physical strength nor financial clout to bully another. In many cases, the bully uses a fake identity and the anonymity offered by the internet to stay away from the clutches of the victim and the law.

Law 2: No woman can be arrested after the sunset and before the sunrise.

Section 46 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides for the mode of the arrest. Arrest consists of actual seizure or touching of a person’s body with a view to his detention. The pronouncing of the words of arrest is not an arrest unless a person sought to be arrested submits to the process and goes with the Arresting Officer.

The provisions of sub-section (4) of Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 mandates that, if the Police want to arrest a woman after sunset, they have to seek prior permission of the Magistrate, and arrest should be made by a Lady Police Officer.

The arrest has to be conducted by a woman officer in charge. In case, there is no woman in the police station in the senior position, the lady constable can conduct the same. No man shall be touching her in any way except she tries to escape or cause harm to prevent the arrest.

Law 3: A consumer complaint can be filed for faulty service, even if the product is of good quality.

You have bought an air conditioner, and the company offers the first 6 services to the air conditioner to be free, which has to be taken within the first 3 years. You found that the company is not providing you with the free services as it has promised. If you have contacted the company but have not received an appropriate response to that, or no response at all, you can approach the consumer court.

Law 4: A tax recovery officer has the power to arrest you.

The Income Tax Department, through its Tax Recovery Officer (TRO), has been presented with the authority to “arrest and detain” in jail a tax defaulter and carry out consequent rigorous penal action against the tax defaulter under the provisions of the Income Tax Act to recover arrears.

A Tax Recovery Officer is confiscated to attach and sell the assessee’s movable property and immovable property, arrest the assessee and detain him or her in prison and appoint a receiver for the management of this movable and immovable property under Section 222 of the IT Act.

Law 5: You can lodge an FIR at any police station or seek help.

 The police personnel can not refuse you on the basis of jurisdiction. Zero Fir is the mode of lodging FIR in any police station irrespective of the offence committed in that area or any other area. There is no restriction over the informant to lodge zero FIR. The concept of zero FIR is new. It refers to an FIR that is registered irrespective of the area where the offence is committed. The police in such a case can no longer claim that they have no jurisdiction. Such an FIR is then later transferred to the police station that has the actual jurisdiction so that investigation can begin.

It was introduced on the recommendation of the Justice Verma Committee formed at the backdrop of the brutal Nirbhaya gang rape in Delhi in 2012. This puts a legal obligation on the police to begin an investigation and take quick action without the excuse of the absence of jurisdiction.

Law 6: Domestic violence complaints can be lodged in a live-in relationship.

For the very first time in the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (Pwdva), the legislature has acknowledged live-in relationships by giving rights and protection to those females who are not legally married, but rather are living with a male individual in a relationship, which is in the idea of marriage, additionally akin to wife, however not equivalent to wife.

Though the live-in relationship is not categorically defined in the Act but left to the courts for interpretation. By virtue of the aforementioned provision, the court interpreted the expression “relationship in the nature of marriage”. The provisions of Pwdva are presently made applicable to individuals who are in live-in relationships. Courts presume live-in relationships to be covered under the ambit of the expression as the words nature of marriage and live-in relationship stand on the same line and meaning.

Law 7: Public Display of Affection is a punishable offence in India.

As IPC has not given any clear definition of the word obscene, but there have been many cases in the apex court where the matters have the tendency to deprave and corrupt the mind of those who are open to such immoral influences.

We don’t find any certain sphere which defines the scope and extent of public display of affection in India, but the majority of the suits are filed under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) which gives the following ingredients to bring an offence within its purview

  • An obscene must have been done in a public place; or
  • The act or song or ballad or words were obscene; and
  • Their acts were done by the accused causing annoyance to others.

The guilty is punished with an imprisonment of three months which may extend, or with a fine or with both.

Law 8: You can not adopt a child directly based on a social media post, or make a social media post for putting an orphan child for adoption. Consequently, social media platforms were flooded with unwarranted pictures of children accompanied by requests for their adoption during the COVID 19 pandemic. However, legalities surrounding adoption in India are complex and do not provide for the direct adoption of a child without first being routed through a statutory body – thus, likening social media adoptions to child trafficking. Such viral messages have not only misinformed prospective parents looking for opportunities to jump the long queue but potentially exposed unregistered children to illegal flesh trade, human trafficking rackets and forced labour.

Curiously, the issue received minimal investigation from civil society gesturing towards the general lack of informed discourse surrounding adoption and lacunae in addressing misinformation about it.

Law 9: While driving, beware of the pedestrians.
Indian law under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and other related acts provide for preventing the vehicles from running on footpaths. The Rules of the Road Regulation (1989) has three rules mentioning pedestrians or their right of way, which are:

  • The duty of the driver to slow down when approaching a pedestrian crossing (Rule
  • That no driver can park a motor vehicle near a traffic light or on a pedestrian crossing or a footpath (Rule 15)
  • Motor vehicles are not allowed to drive on the footpaths or cycle lane except with permission from the police officer on duty (Rule 11)

The Municipal Corporation Acts also protect public roads and streets by terming all obstructions illegal unless made with the prior permission of the collector. They are entitled to ascertain the footpath width based on the width of the public roads.

Law 10: Men can claim alimony from their wife at the time of divorce

Sec. 125 of CrPC states about the spousal responsibilities. It says the spouse who has economic stability is liable to maintain and support the other spouse who is economically not stable.

The husband is eligible to get alimony, when the husband is unable to earn If the husband is totally unable to earn herself to maintain her livelihood, due to certain physical disability or lack of education, the husband is supposed to pay her a certain amount at a regular interval monthly or quarterly.

It is a gender-neutral law. In the previous period, women tend to be dependent on men financially, that is the reason, the myth got created that only men pay for the alimony. In the recent period of equalism, when the husband is economically weak and needs support, but the wife has a better situation, the Court may pass an order to pay alimony to the husband.

As it has been said earlier, that alimony is not an obligation, it is dependent on the situation, and over the discretionary power of the Court.

If you want to know more about your rights and need legal advice, write at contact@lawsimpl.com or visit www.lawsimpl.com

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