Laws that don’t befit the Indian republic

Which outdated laws should we get rid of, and why?

The recent surge of opinions on whether India—a liberal, democratic republic—ought to retain the colonial-era crime of sedition on its rule books is a good opportunity to discuss the general topic.

Which of those laws, or crimes under the Indian Penal Code, according to you, must be repealed? Why?

(Note: Be brief—that’s the best guarantee that people will read you. Restrict your comment to 150 words or less, per law.)

23 thoughts on “Laws that don’t befit the Indian republic”

      1. 498a is the anti-dowry act if i’m not mistaken. DV refers to domestic violence?

        these are good legislation. there are some concerns abt their misuse and gender-specificity.

  1. Armed Forces Special Powers Act must be repelled as it accords extraordinary powers to security forces in the use of even lethal force which has resulted in well documented abuses and violation of rights, the prosecution of which has proved to be difficult, again, because of the immunity the Act provides to perpetrators of such abuses and violations.

  2. Armed Forces Special Powers Act must be repealed as it accords extraordinary powers to armed forces deployed in internal security and counter insurgency in the use of even lethal force which has resulted in well documented abuses and violation of rights, the prosecution of which has proved to be difficult, again, because of the immunity the Act provides to perpetrators of such abuses and violations.

  3. Wasn’t “Indian Penal Code” drafted by the colonizer’s with the objective to protect the then establishment from natives? If even after 60 years we continue using the same penal code with cosmetic changes here and there only shows our incompetency. Does our establishment thinks that it still requires protection from native Indians? it appears so.

    1. There is as much wisdom in keeping what is good & necessary, as there is to throwing away what is bad & unnecessary. The issue is not getting rid of British influence as it is of getting rid of specific things do not befit the Indian republic.

      1. We expect the police to uphold the penal code in letter and spirit as their duty, but even a child will tell you that the police waits for the unsuspecting people to first get on the wrong side of the law accidentally or otherwise and then extract his cut before letting him off the hook! that’s how law enforcers enforce law in India.
        A debate always seems to be a good starting point, but the participants must also include “real” experts on the topic. Any solution to the problem must include those field officers – the lower ranking cops who are entrusted to do the dirty job of policing & not just the high ranking officers who only arrive at the end to take credit/write doctored official reports. Only when these low rank cops – (constables etc.) have “belief” on the laws they are expected to uphold, we can expect at least some of them to do their job honestly.

  4. Hi,
    Our Indian youth can be fooled by western media so easily. The laws might have been made during colonial times but they are continue to be in stature books as they are relevant even today. Now Nilim dutta says AFSP act should be removed. Has he ever visited Srinagar or manipur or naxal affected areas? does he has a brother,sister or son/daughter who is serving in the border areas in Army, CRPF etc?
    These guys will suddenly wake up when Jhola carrying socalled intellectual (actually Dr.Binayak Sen and Prof hafeez saeed of LET and gillani are no different) They donot carry out actual killing but motivate youngsters to kill on behalf of their ideology. But a court verdict should not be respected and so laws must be changed.

  5. For starters, Section 377 which outlaws homosexuality – its archaic and is now primarily used as a blackmailing and extortion tool by the police.

    Further, prohibition should be overturned.. E.g. Prohibition on liquor in Gujarat, requirement of permits in Maharashtra, etc. Again these are outdated and result in loss to the exchequer.

    On that note, I’d personally like laws banning prostitution and gambling to be overturned too… The former will improve the living and health conditions of an integral class of the society and the latter will bring transparency and curb black money. Both will result in increased revenues to the exchequer.

  6. 1. AFSPA and its relatives by other names (CSPSA etc) need to be at least diluted if not repealed altogether. There shd atleast be term limits for these draconian acts. Cant keep running them for yrs, decades etc.

    2. Sedition needs to be redefined, not as broadbased as it seems to be now. AR’s outbursts were not sedition.

    3. Art356 perhaps needs change, it allows the centre to dismiss elected state govts a little too easily.


  7. The Press And Registration Of Books Act, 1867

    It was legislated and used to quell bad press and independent thought.

  8. 1. anti defection law.. because of this.. our parliament has lost true debate, lateral thinking on various topics.. as everyone have to toe their respective party line.. and they have to resort to various instruments such as zero hour, question hour, calling attention motion etc.. perhaps we should restrict this to only money bill and no confidence motion only.

    2. any laws which further increase reservation based on caste..
    this is the virus that must be checked .. as successive governments are only force to increase more and more reservations.
    instead a point based system of deprivation.. having different criterion with different weightage.. e.g. income, land held, caste, residing area, occupation, numerical strength to make voice felt in govt etc should be used.

    3. AFSPA need not be repealed.. but needs amendment.. as to when to apply and period of application. as anything in india which is made as a temporary measure.. becomes permanent fixture of government. e.g. reservation again. 🙁

    1. “Indian Penal Code Section 497. Adultery

      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 to 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 five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall be punishable as an abettor”

      Just read the provision, isn’t it obvious why it should be scrapped?

      For the lazy ones it says – If you have sex with a married woman without the consent of her husband, you are liable to a maximum sentence of 5 years. With the husbands consent – its all hunky dory.

  9. Article 30 that discriminates between which religious institutions can set up educational institutions and which ones cannot. Madrassas and convents are allowed (and their books aren’t even checked) but not temples.

  10. Ideallly this should begin with the Constitution, which in the words of Nani Palkhiwala, is ‘defaced and defiled’ on numerous occasions. My suggestions are:

    1. Bring back Right to Property as a fundamental right.
    2. Scrap Article 31B, alongwith the Ninth Schedule, under which laws mentioned in the Ninth Schedule were declared to be beyond the purview of judicial review, even though they violate fundamental rights.

  11. Any speech which doesn’t actually incite people to actually commit violence should be protected. After all, this is what the SC had said in 1964 even regarding the sedition law. The recent conviction of Binayak Sen is a shame and will never stand up in a higher court of law.

  12. Restore the original fundamental rights including unlimited freedom of expression (even if it offends others) and the right to property

  13. Some of the changes that I wish to see:

    1. Scrap article 356. This has been (mis)used rather extensively in the past. We ought to be moving towards a more federal structure and central govt should have no right to dismiss a democratically elected state govt.

    2. AFSPA: I think it should be amended. It is an important mechanism but has to be used in extreme scenarios. Not meant to be used so casually and expediently.

    3. President and Governors: What are they there for? Since there are constitutional positions, I am sure there is some article that defines their role. Scrap them I say. Particularly, Governors are used by central govt to harass states. Not on in a federal set-up. What is the locus-standi of a Governor (to interfere with working of an elected govt)? Governors are a hinderance to movement towards a more federal polity.

  14. Firstly, sections 494 and 497 of the IPC which deal with Bigamy and Adultery respectively. The repeal of these sections really do not warrant discussion here. A lot has been discussed and written on these two issues. In any case, both bigamy and adultery are grounds for divorce. Of late, even the courts do not seem to be too serious in trying the cases under these sections. Also section 377 may be suitably amended to cover cases involving minor victims. Section 498-A needs to be regulated; in the sense that the Code of Criminal Procedure needs to be appropriately amended so as to enable only the courts to take cognizance. Domestic Violence Act is another draconian piece of legislation which is being misused and abused. The other law which needs a re-look is the Official Secrets Act.

    IPC otherwise is a fine piece of legislation which ought not be discarded merely because it was drafted by the British (Lord Macaulay to be precise). If that is a ground for repeal, then, we need to repeal the Contract Act, Code of Civil Procedure, Negotiable Instruments Act and numerous other legislations.


  15. Obviously hate speech laws?
    Section 153A, section 295A of IPC, which seek to protect “sentiments of people”. These are always unleashed by politicians to appeal to their vote banks. Varun Gandhi v/s UP, editors of The Stateman v/s W.Bengal police (for publishing “Why should I respect oppressive religions?”) etc etc . The cases are too numerous to mention.

  16. A general note. Laws should allow to treat family as a unit.
    -IT filing as a family not by individual income.
    -A family can be a party just like corporation or individual.
    -Parental connect required for marriage until 25 for men and women. This will save teenagers from immature decisions.

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