Given below are easy unwitting ways by which a person may be arrested or go to jail in India:
Insulting the national flag and disrupting the national anthem
The law criminalises any insult to the Indian national flag, including actions like burning, cutting, tarnishing, disfiguring, destroying, or trampling the flag or insulting it through contemptuous words ( spoken or written).
Similarly, disrupting the singing of the national anthem or creating hindrances to a person singing the national anthem can be punished by law with imprisonment up to three years or a fine or both. The Flag Code of India states that:
- The flag should not be dipped in salute to any person or thing.
- As far as possible, the flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
- The flag should not be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water.
- The flag should not be used as a portion of a costume or uniform or as embroidery or print on clothes and objects.
- The flag cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircrafts.
- No other flag, emblem or object (including flowers and garlands) can be placed higher than the flag.
- No lettering of any kind should be put on the flag.
Urinating or spitting in a public place
Urinating or spitting in public places is a crime of public nuisance. Public places can include bus stops, railway stations, offices, malls, parks, theatres, hospitals, etc. These actions are punishable with a fine of Rupees. 200 or more.
Vandalism is the wilful and malicious destruction of public property, and a crime known as mischief. Some examples of vandalism include writing/drawing graffiti on heritage sites and monuments, throwing objects to destroy a building etc. The punishment for mischief is 3 months imprisonment, a fine or both. Additionally, under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act,1958, the punishment for vandalising heritage sites and monuments is imprisonment for two years and fine of one lakh rupees.
Illegally downloading, viewing, exhibiting, sharing and selling content, either through computer programs, music or films is punishable with three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to three lakhs.
Consuming Drugs and Narcotics
Consuming banned drugs and psychotropic substances is illegal in India. If you are caught consuming cocaine, morphine, or diacetyl-morphine, you can be punished with jail time for up to 1 year and/or a fine of up to Rs. 20,000. For any other banned drugs, you can be punished with jail time for up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to Rs. 10,000.
Sikkim is the only State in India that provides for immunity from prosecution for consumption of drugs through rehabilitation of addicts. Addicts who consume drugs can voluntarily seek to undergo medical treatment for de-addiction from a hospital or institution maintained by the Government to avoid prosecution. Further, if a person consumes a drug without a medical prescription in Sikkim, they have to undergo compulsory detoxification, followed by rehabilitation and shall be only liable to pay a fine upto Rs. 10000.
Public Display of Affection
Public Display of Affection can be construed as an obscene act which is a crime in India under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The law can punish anyone who annoys other people by doing any obscene act in any public place, or singing, reciting or uttering any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place.
The police may harass you or even arrest you for PDA, for which the punishment is imprisonment for up to three months and/or a fine.
Calling someone “Chinki” and “Bhangi”
Calling someone slur words like Chinki, Bhangi, Chamar, Dhobhi and Harijan, is illegal in India under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Intentionally insulting, intimidating or abusing a member of SCs/STs in public is a crime punishable with 6 months imprisonment to 5 years along with a fine.
Flying a Kite in India Without a Permit
The Indian Aircraft Act of 1934, considers a kite to also be an aircraft thus making it necessary to get a permit to fly one. However, this is not a common practice that is followed in India! Some other objects that also require a permit under this law include balloons whether fixed or free, airships, gliders and flying machines.
Insulting the Religion or Religious Beliefs of a Person
According to Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 it is a criminal offence to deliberately insult a religion or religious beliefs of any Indian citizen or their religious community with a cruel intention. The insult can be in the form of words (spoken or written), signs, visible representation etc. The punishment is imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine.
Trespassing onto someone else’s Property
If someone enters into a property which is not theirs, that person will be punished under the law for criminal trespass or the crime commonly known as trespassing. At the time of prosecution, the Court will look into several factors like whether the person trespassing had an intention to enter, insult or annoy the property owner. However, the property owner still has the right to contact the police and file an FIR if someone enters their property. The punishment for trespassing is an imprisonment term of 3 months along with a fine of Rupees 500 or both.
Finding money or “treasure” and not reporting it
If someone finds something of value more than Rupees 10, the finder must report it to the Collector, which may be a revenue officer of a district, regarding what they have found. This is considered to be “treasure” under the Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878. This law even punishes the finder if they dont inform the Collector or if they try to hide the treasure with a punishment of imprisonment for a term upto 1 year or with a fine or both.
Fighting in Public
If two or more people get into a fight in public, they can be arrested and are said to commit an affray. If the fight ends up disturbing the peace in public, it is a crime under Section 159 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the punishment is imprisonment upto 1 month along with a fine of Rupees 100 or both.