India is one of the most diverse countries in the world and as such, there are many laws that govern its people.
These rights can be confusing to know about and understand, but this blog post will try to explain some of them, more practical for you. If you’re an Indian citizen or resident, you should know what your legal rights are! Did you know, you can use the hotel washroom for free? or you may get compensation in case of cylinder accidents?
In this post, we will talk about the basic legal rights every Indian should know about. This post discusses 10 legal rights that should be familiar to all Indians, but that many of them don’t know.
Right to remain silent
Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution states that “No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.” This means you have the legal right not to answer questions if your answers may incriminate you.
So, if you are arrested, you can not be compelled to speak against yourself. You can not be forced to tell that you did the act. You may remain silent, and it is ok.
You have the right to refuse any questions which may incriminate yourself–including revealing details about your whereabouts on specific dates/times.
But, the fact is that many times, even the arresting authority doesn’t know this, therefore they keep torturing the accused.
That’s why it’s important for an individual facing legal trouble to contact legal services immediately–the earlier they seek legal assistance from experienced advocates like us at Adjuva Legal the more likely their chance of success.
Right to report – FIR
Filing an FIR in India is not considered a good thing by even some learned classes.
But, you must report a crime or anything which seems not to be legal, as soon as you feel right.
If the crime is not done in the jurisdiction of the police station, then also the law says that the officer must report it. If not, reach the Superintendent of Police – if the SP also doesn’t listen then go to the Magistrate.
See, the law keeps helping us at every moment but due to ignorance, we are made fools and we suffer.
Indian Penal Code, Section 166A says that a police officer can not refuse to write an FIR. He might get jailed for not writing the FIR.
Right to free legal aid
Under Article 39A of the Constitution, Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has been established to make sure every single person gets free legal aid in case that person can not afford the legal process expenses.
This is the most important right in today’s world as this enables the equal protection of the law and enhances the sense of equality among all.
In fact, we are one of the few service providers in India which have started free legal aid – at our own expense.
Our FLAP or Free Legal Aid Program ensures no one is left behind when it comes to safeguarding their rights.
Woman’s right to be searched by a woman only
If a female gets arrested, she will only be searched by a woman officer maintaining complete decency.
Section 51(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 says so.
Moreover, only a male officer will require a written order from the magistrate in case there is no female officer or if that female has to be escorted.
Also, a female can refuse to go to the station after 6 in the evening till 6 in the morning.
The fact is a woman has been given more rights than a man in India or the world, for that matter, but as we know women in India are still a suppressed gender. Therefore, they require a legal push from the constitution as well as different laws.
Right to live-in
Law keeps evolving according to the times, and this is evident from the recent statements by the apex court on the live-in relationship issue.
Law is not only something written in the bare acts but it may also come through the various judgments by the Supreme Court of India.
Though you and your partner are not married, you may still be called husband and wife in the eyes of law.
And yes, this is not a proper marriage but it still has the protection of maintenance laws, custody laws, the child will not be illegitimate, the domestic violence act will also apply. Thereby, making it at par with a proper marriage.
There is a condition – if you are living with your partner for more than one year without marriage, the law will presume you to be legally married and all the consequences of a legal wedding (property, guardianship) would apply as well.
Right to be compensated in case of cylinder accidents
Yes, it is a rarely known thing but you must know it now.
The cylinder manufacturers and distributors make a contract with the insurance company to compensate their customers in case of an accident caused due to the cylinder explosions.
It is one of the legal rights that you should always remember.
The amount will depend on whether it is an LPG cylinder, but generally, it would be around Rs 20 lakhs for each accident and if there are many accidents then the compensation can go up to as much as 50-60 crore rupees.
If the company refuses to compensate your losses in case of such accidents, do not give up hope and consult with a lawyer who specializes in this field (like us). They might just help you get justice.
Right to bargain
This is a very common household thing but many do not know the legal face of it.
Bargaining is not just a general connect but it has legal value too. You can always ask the seller for a lower price than written as MRP (Maximum Retail Price).
Remember, this is not an absolute right of yours, do not fight on it.
You may always request, but it depends upon the seller to agree or not.
Right to be helped by a police officer – anytime
A police officer is always on duty, yes he is.
Even if he is not in the proper uniform, he can not reject your help saying he is not on duty.
In India, the reputation of the police service is not on a very positive side. They still lack in having complete faith in the general public.
Ironically, many times people are scared of them instead of feeling safe with them.
Never hesitate to take the help of a police officer, this doesn’t mean you should disturb them without any reason. But if you feel that there is a problem, or someone has done something wrong to you and then please go ahead.
Right not to be fired in case of pregnancy
The woman has the legal right to not be fired in case of pregnancy. A company is bound by law to take care of her during this period and they must provide all their requirements as well.
This means she can’t be terminated from work unless there are some extreme circumstances that justify it.
But withholding a person’s salary or any other benefits for being pregnant is strictly prohibited under the Indian laws when it comes to maternity leave provisions which have been put into effect after amendments were made in Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
It also means if you’re an employer, then please make sure you keep your staff updated about these legal changes!
Right to use hotel washrooms or water purifier
Yes, this is one of those rare things we know.
According to Indian Sarais Act, 1867 anyone can ask for pure drinking water from any hotel at any time for oneself and even for one’s pets.
Moreover, one can use the washroom of the hotel for free too.
Always remember, a right is not absolute every time – there can be exceptions to other provisos.
Never misuse your legal right.
A right should make you strong without making the country weak.
In conclusion, legal rights are important for the citizens. They should know their legal rights and use them wisely in order to make India a better country to live in.
A right makes you a complete citizen. Without a legal right, one becomes a machine.
You should know your legal rights and use them wisely in order to make India a better place to live in.
The legal right gives people freedom from fear or intimidation by others and they can be exercised freely at all times with minimum interference from other people too.
Legal rights uphold human dignity as well as social justice, equality, fairness and transparency.