26th November every year is celebrated as the Law Day in India. With its terminology now changed to it being referred as the Constitution Day, here is a piece explaining its significance and bringing ahead some interesting facts about it.

This year marks the 70th commemoration year of adoption of the Constitution of India, which was adopted on 26th November 1949 by the then the Constituent Assembly of India.

The day holds its importance for various reasons, one of the major ones being to bring into public notice the importance of the constitution and others being to spread the thoughts and ideas of various personalities that helped hoping the constitution.

Talking about the day being previously referred to as the ‘National Law Day’, here are some of the interesting laws that still exist in India, which will leave you surprised!

  • The Aircraft Act, 1934

According to the Aircraft Act of 1934, an aircraft has been defined as “any machine which can take support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air”. Along with this, it mentions of how “balloons, whether fixed or free, kites, airships, flying machines and gliders” come under the bracket and umbrella of being defined as an ‘aircraft’. The Act also talks about how the permission of government is needed in order to use, possess, operate, import or export any aircraft. Thus, along with these lines, it becomes illegal to fly kites and balloons in India prior having a permission and clearance from the Government of India!

  • No Uniform Drinking Age

In India, there exists no common drinking age for the people. With the age bar being 21 years in Tamil Nadu, to 18 in Goa and 25 in Maharashtra, there isn’t a consensus on which age is the ideal legal age for drinking. Making the matters all the more confusing, the age bar differences create more trouble with a different age being set for soft drinks and a different for hard drinks!

  • East Punjab Agricultural Pests, Diseases and Noxious Weeds act, 1949

Delhites, be aware! The above mentioned act is still functional in Delhi. Under this (quirky and indeed very unique!) act, any person who is above the age of fourteen and is considered fit can be summoned by the government through beating drums in order to fight locusts!

  • Treasure Trove Act, 1878

As per the Indian Treasure Trove Act of 1878, if any person discovers anything which holds a value greater than INR 10, then the amount belongs to “Her Majesty” (yes you read that right!) the amount/money/item must be reported. If one fails to do so then the person is liable to punishment, be sent to jail for not reporting it.

At the end of this article, one observes how the colonial hangover still clutches the Indian Laws and legal systems, decades after independence. It is high time now to have laws for the contemporary India, and do away with the ones the British created for us, centuries ago. A new India needs new laws for a better, brighter and beautiful future.

Feature Image Credits: Quora

Amrashree Mishra

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The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 5th August 2019. However, has the negative and ambiguous aspects of the bill really been addressed by the public?

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill mandates a two step method for legal recognition of gender for someone from the transgender community. They will first have to apply for a “transgender certificate”, after which they will also have to apply for a “change in gender” certificate, which will get their gender status changed legally. This step seems to require surgery and documentation by a medical authority confirming it. Medical confirmation and surgery was not and should not be a necessary prerequisite for a change in legal gender, as per a 2015 report by the World Health Organisation and the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network, the Governments should “take all necessary legislative, administrative, and other measures to fully recognize each person’s self defined gender identity, with no medical requirements or discrimination on any grounds.”

Furthermore, one of the main clauses of the bill basically says that in cases of acts of sexual, verbal, physical, economic, and emotional abuse against transgender peoples, the penalty will be between 6 months and 2 years and with fine. However, those who perpetrate the same crimes against cis-gendered people have much harsher punishments put in place against them. Essentially, this clause is making a very negative impact on an already marginalized community.

Harish Iyer, a gender-rights activist told IndiaSpend, that the “transgender bill is regressive and half-hearted.” He added that pivotal hardship is that one has to go to a committee or a doctor to get recognized as a trans-person and undergo questioning related to their genitalia which any cis-person would never have to go through.

Prachi Johri, a second-year student from Indraprastha College for Women, when asked for her opinion on the Bill, said that “Going back to the 2016 transgender rights bill where the bill defined transgender individual as “neither wholly female or male”  to the 2019 version of the bill, it still efficiently renders transgender people as second class citizens by providing penal provisions for crimes committed against the transgender community less stringent compared to the crimes committed against women and by failing to keep in place a progressive certification process for transgender.” She also believes that the bill was also suppressed by the removal of article 370. According to her, it was covered and hidden from the masses and media, so, only a few people know about it and are protesting or questioning about it. It was an easy bill to pass for the government.

Esvi Anbu Kothazam, a Mumbai-based transgender spoke with The Print and stated, “What is being done is that the government is trying to legislate without taking into consideration the history of marginalisation and discrimination which the transgender community has faced.” Esvi also noted the absence of any provision for affirmative action. “The main point is that we need a comprehensive reservation policy — in education, employment and political representation, which addresses the needs of all sections of the transgender community,”

The ambiguity of this bill and its clauses makes one question the motive of the government and how it is going to work towards the protection of this community. Furthermore, it is clear that this Bill has many flaws which haven’t been addressed in the political or the public sphere as they should have been.

Feature Image Credits: Feminism In India

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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The discourse on rape of men has never shaped up in a society where irrespective of the sexes “consent” and “no” are considered redundant words.

Wikipedia defines rape as, “A type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent.” Notice the use of the word “person” that should naturally include women, men, transgender, and all other recognized or unrecognized genders. But unfortunately, the law of the land has devoid consideration of men as victims of rape crimes. In August 2014, 4 men in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh were booked for sodomizing a 16-year-old boy in a government-run protection home. A year later, in April 2015 a Madarsa teacher was booked for attempting to sodomize a male student in the same town. We use the word sodomy (anal intercourse) instead of rape here, which no longer is a criminal offence after the Supreme Court amended the language of Section 377 of IPC in September 2018 to decriminalize same-sex relations.

It was a landmark decision that freed the LGBTQ community to come out of the closet without facing the fear of legal scrutiny.  But at the same time, it abridged adult men of their only legal remedy in case of forceful anal penetration. The rape laws in our country treat men only as perpetrators and not as victims. According to Section 375 of the IPC only a man can commit rape on a woman without her consent, or with consent but under the fear of death, or with consent but under false pretences. It makes no mention of rape as a crime against men and leaves section 377 to cover that.

“A huge contributor to the social stigma around male victims of sexual assault is the lack of a functioning legal framework for them to back on,” writes Mardaangi, an Instagram page with around 3000 likes that uploads stories and mentions of sexual assaults on men.

A 2nd-year law student at Delhi University, talking about the discriminative rape laws in our country, on a condition of anonymity says, “As a welfare state our laws are more concerned towards the upliftment of downtrodden section of the society. Women and children due to historic injustice have always been given special protection under the law.” He added, “Men, on the other hand, have always been considered to be the dominating members as they are mostly in the position of power.”

Lack of consent remains an indispensable factor that naturally should make cases of unwilling sodomy come within the ambit of rape. Despite that, not only the legal framework of our country but the social conditioning too makes it tremendously tough for men to report rape crimes and avail a timely justice. The common notion that men are not vulnerable and that they always crave for sex has diluted the conversation around rape of men. Friends, peers and even the authority will likely deride a male victim and label the incident redundant leaving him traumatized.

Rape laws in India have developed over time. The law whose genesis can be traced in Macaulay’s Indian Penal Code of 1860 got amended many times before reaching its current stage. Changes include the inclusion of custodial rape, which criminalized rape by a public servant in 1983 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 followed by the Nirbhaya rape case. In 2012, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act or POCSO was passed which made rape against a child under the age of 16 a criminal offence and laid provisions for the investigation of the crime in a manner that the child doesn’t get traumatized. This law is gender-neutral and treats male children as victims as well. A legal framework for the protection of adult males can be a next step in the evolution of rape laws.

Feature Image credit: themileage.org


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