Over the last few days, many of us had to address the legality, or illegality, of certain things. Phrases like sedition laws, right to dissent, freedom of expression have all been thrown in the mix. While it's great that a good number of young people are finally talking about these things in the open now, let us not forget that there are many laws out there which, believe it or not, make some otherwise everyday things illegal in India.
Here are some of those illegal things we're talking about.
1. In Delhi, it's illegal to not alert the authorities by beating the drum when locusts attack.
According to the East Punjab Agriculture Pests, Diseases and Noxious Weeds Act, 1949, if locusts attack the city but you fail to report it to the authorities by beating a drum, you're liable to pay a fine of 50 rupees.
2. If you find money lying around that's more than 10 rupees, you're committing a crime by not reporting it.
According to the Treasure Trove Act of 1878, any treasure you find belongs to the Queen. But if it's less than rupees 10, you can keep it. If it's of a higher amount, you have to report it to the authorities. Yep, totally doing that.
3. It's illegal to fly a kite without a permit.
According to the Indian Aircraft Act of 1934, which says you need a permit or a license to fly a plane, you also need a similar permit to fly a kite. But what about kai po che, bro?
4. It's illegal for more than 10 couples to dance on the same stage together.
According to the Licensing and Controlling Places of Amusement (other than Cinemas), 1960, if more than 10 couples are seen dancing at the same time on the same stage, then the law has the power to either reduce the number of couples or totally shut down the event. Go figure.
5. It is illegal to get your ears cleaned or your teeth fixed by roadside vendors.
According to the Chapter V, Section 49 of the Dentist Act of 1948, street dentistry is illegal in India. So what if they charge you about 150 bucks for something that could cost more than 10,000 rupees in a dentists office? A similar law also deems roadside ear cleaning illegal. I guess poverty, mixed with supply and demand, ensures that these practices will just continue, no matter what the ENT or the Dental care lobby thinks.
6. It is illegal to attempt suicide. It's fine if you succeed though. [Recently scrapped]
According to the now recanted Section 309 of the IPC, any attempt to suicide was punishable under the law. No wonder they had to put Irom Sharmila under house arrest and force feed her. Didn't break her resolve though - her fight to repeal AFSPA still continues.
7. It is illegal to have factories that do not have spittoons where the workers work.
This is actually bizarre. At a time when workers in Maruti and Honda factories are struggling to get their demands met by their bosses, their still exists Section 20 of The Factories Act of 1948, under which there has to be a regular number of spittoons on the factory floor for the workers to spit on. That's all good sir, but why then do you guys give factory workers so little time to even pee? Are they to improvise with the spittoons?
8. Prostitution isn't illegal in India. But pimping is.
There's a reason red light areas exist in certain cities and towns in India. You can pay someone for sex nobody can legally bother you about it, but if you approach a pimp or try to pimp someone else, you're in trouble.
9. It's illegal for factories to make women work at night in factories.
Did you know that under the Factories Act of 1948, it is also illegal to make women workers work night shifts? BPO employees, what do you have to say?
10. Oral sex is illegal.
Okay, so we know that sodomy is illegal, and sadly, in a hetero-normative society like India, most blink twice over it, but did you know that under Section 377 of the IPC, which decriminalizes 'unnatural sex', oral sex is illegal too? Yep, think of that next time you want to 'please' your partner.