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  • Varshini Kattamuri

Are you aware of the basic laws that every Indian should know?

Many of you might already know the basic and fundamental rights of this country by being responsible. Let us explore some more of these basic laws in order to analyze how far you know them;

1. Free legal aid service: Article 39 of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society and hence the Government has enacted Legal services Authorities Act, 1987 to all those individuals who cannot afford to opt for lawyers in order to ensure justice for all.

2. Right To Information: The Right To Information Act was passed in 2005 to provide transparency and accountability of the sovereign authority or in other words, to check the working system of the Government. Now the question arises is, if the individual has the right to get any information from the public authority?

Article 19(1)(a) (Freedom of speech and expression, which is a Fundamental Right), concerns with the Right To Information. But Article 19(2) also states that if the disclosed information affects the integrity or the security of the country, then the Government can impose restrictions on that. In other words, a citizen can get the information to the extent which does not affect the secrecy and dignity of the country. Therefore, Right To Information is not an absolute right, but a Fundamental Right up to some extent.

3. Free access to clean water and toilets: Section 7 of the Sarai Act of 1867 concerns with the keepers of the Sarai who are responsible for providing water and washrooms for free to the travellers and tourists (wherein a sarai is a building used for the shelter and accommodation of travellers).

4. Live-in relationships: There is no particular law or legislation regarding the rights and obligations of the partners in live-in relationships. However, the apex court has clarified the concept and given legitimacy through various judgments. Through an important landmark judgment, S. Khushboo Vs. Kanniammal, the Supreme Court held that a live-in relationship comes within the ambit of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and further held that live-in relationships are permissible as such act of two majors living together cannot be considered illegal or unlawful.

The reason behind supporting this concept is to provide certain rights and protection to those females who are not legally married, but rather living with a male individual in a relationship which is in the idea of marriage.

Section 2(f) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 not only provides protection to the legally married female individuals, but also defines what a domestic relationship is and gives women some basic rights to protect themselves from the abuse of fraudulent and bigamous relationships.

"Section 2(f): Domestic relationship means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family."

The intention of the Indian Judiciary is to provide justice to all the partners of the live-in relationships, who were earlier not protected by any statute when subjected to any abuse arising out of such relationship. It may be considered immoral in the eyes of society but it is not at all "illegal" in the eye of law. Judiciary is neither promoting such concept nor prohibiting such relationships. It is just concerned that there shouldn't be any miscarriage of justice.

5. Internet; a Fundamental Right: The Supreme court declared access to internet a Fundamental right. A Government cannot deprive the citizens such Fundamental Right except under certain conditions mentioned under Article 19(2)(c) of the Constitution of India. This ruling came after they heard a plea with respect to internet blockade in Jammu & Kashmir since August 2019 in view of revoking Article 370 in the Union Territory. The Constitution of India makes freedom of speech and expression a Fundamental Right for all the citizens which is mentioned under Article 19. The Supreme court has on many occassions expanded the scope of such right. Latest expansion makes the constitutional keep pace with the innovation of technology.

Internet is a primary source of information to millions of Indian citizens. Also, this Supreme court ruling is in sync with the United Nations recommendation that every country should make access to internet a Fundamental Right.

6. Refusal to lodge a FIR: Section 166 A of the Indian Penal Code, 1960, says that when a police officer fails to record any information given to him (which he is supposed to under section 154 of CRPC), in relation to cognizable offences like murder, theft, assault, and rape etc, shall be punished with a minimum term of six months which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

7. Right To Education: The Right To Education Act was made on August 4th, 2009, which makes accessibility of compulsory education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 and specifies minimum norms in elementary schools. The Act also provides that no child will be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education.There is also a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the same age. So if you find any children of that age group, try to motivate them to go to schools.

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