There are many archaic laws in India that are downright absurd though thankfully most of these laws have been eradicated. Though there are still some laws that are prejudiced and unjust. Particularly since gender inequality is highly prevalent in Indian Society it is argued that these laws, although unjust are in place to deter criminals. It is thought in instances such as rape, traditionally it is the male who is the predator. Unfortunately for the minority of those who are male victims, they go unheard.
Some laws are difficult to determine if they are merely a myth given they are truly absurd. I have researched the myths from the facts and found the top 6 laws that you wouldn't necessarily know as a foreigner. Kite Flying being illegal did not make the list as it is legal given that Punjab has a Festival specifically for Kite Flying known as Basant Festival. Though if you google strange Indian Laws you will see kite flying on the list. The closest law that I could find was in Jaipur only, which punishes negligent kite flying that may harm another person. Please note that these are just a summary of laws and do not constitute advice. I would recommend researching these laws or seeking legal advice should you need further information.
1. Parents Can Evict Abusive Adult Children
New Delhi High Court recently ruled that adult children who abuse their parents while staying with them in their house can be evicted from the property. As long as parents have the legal possession of the property, they have the rights to evict their abusive children. This is a major improvisation in a 2007 law that had left it to state governments to frame rules to protect the life and property of senior citizens. However there seems to be no definition in place for what would be deemed abusive. With no parameters it could easily be taken advantage of by parents wanting to evict their children. Or in instances where the elderly parent may have an addiction or gambling habit that the children are trying to intervene which could be construed as abuse.
2. It Is Illegal For Man To Commit Adultery
Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code punishes only men for committing adultery. The code states: "Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 5 years, or with fine, or with both. In such case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor." This law presumes that a woman is the mere property of her husband.
3. Women Cannot Be Charged With Rape
Under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code a man is said to commit rape. There is no room for adult male victims, much less female perpetrators. Although child survivors of both sexes are covered by the Protection of Children - Sexual Offences Act 2012, current rape laws leave out a large swathe of male victims, who cannot come forward for fear of stigma and a lack of legal recourse. Rape is also not recognised by law should a man have intercourse with his own wife regardless if it was not consensual.
4. Intentional Miscarriages Caused By A Man Are Illegal
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 was introduced to legalise abortions before 20 weeks pregnant. With that said Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code punishes any man who should voluntarily cause a woman to miscarry. The Code states: "Whoever voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry shall, if such miscarriage be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both; and, if the woman be quick with child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 7 years, and shall also be liable to fine."
5. It Is Illegal To Know The Sex Of Your Unborn Child
With abortions legalised in India in 1971, by 1996 the falling sex ratios raised fears that ultrasound technologies were being used to determine the sex of the foetus. This is due to the preference for boys as they are traditionally viewed as more useful than girls in Indian Culture. Therefore many opted for sex selective abortions to terminate pregnancy should they be expecting a girl. This is when The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act was first introduced and now known as The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act 2003. The act makes it illegal to determine the sex of the unborn child or even use sex-selection technologies to select your preference of sex at conception.
6. Attempted Suicide Is Punishable
Section 309 of The Indian Penal Code states: 'Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards commission of such offence, shall be punished for a term which may extend to one year of with fine, or with both". The government has decided to decriminalise attempt to suicide by deleting Section 309 with majority of states in favour of the recommendation to raise a bill to amend the code. Punjab, while not opposing the deletion of Section 309, insisted that the State come forward to rehabilitate people who attempt suicide by providing medical/psychiatric care and public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, rape victims and distressed farmers. Therefore until the bill of amendment is approved it is at this present moment still illegal to attempt suicide. It is feared that passing this bill will make it difficult to prosecute suicide bombers who survive.
What bizarre Indian Laws have you come across?