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Rights Every Citizen Must Know

Updated: Jan 15

The Renowned American Jurist, John Roberts once told, “You cannot fight for your rights if you don’t know what they are.” In the world’s largest democracy, with a population of about 130 crore citizens, knowledge is the only mechanism that segregates a person from the rest of the crowd. It is crucial to be aware of some of the legal provisions and rights every citizen of India is entitled to.

Here are some of the vital legal rights and remedies every citizen of India shall be cognizant of:

  1. Right of a Woman When Arrested: - According to Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 No woman can be arrested before sunrise and after sunset except in extraordinary circumstances. This rule is therefore acknowledged as the ‘Sunset Rule’. Also, even in the case of extraordinary circumstances, such an arrest shall be made only by a woman police officer after seeking prior approval from the Judicial Magistrate of the first class.

  2. Equal Pay for Equal Work: - As per the provisions of the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, equal pay must be envisaged for an equal amount of work done by both men and women. Any deviation from this principle is subjected to judicial recourse by the victim.

  3. Right to Information (RTI): According to Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India, 1950, as well as the RTI Act, enforced in 2005, any citizen can request information from any public authority and such respective authority is obliged to revert within 30 days from the date of inquiry.

  4. Refusal in Lodging FIR: In case a police officer refuses to lodge an FIR, he/she can be penalized for the same under Section 166 A of the Indian Penal Code and could be further imprisoned for a period of 6 months up to 1 year,

  5. Live-in Relationships: Live-in relationships are legal in India and are recognized as lawful by the Apex Court of our nation. Such relationships are further protected under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 and a child born out of such a relationship is also considered ‘legitimate’.

  6. The Indian Sarais Act, 1867: In compliance with Section 7(2) of the Sarais Act, no person can be prohibited from drinking potable water or using a restroom in any hotel, be it a 5-star one.

  7. Police on Duty 24X7: In line with the provisions of the Police Act (1861), a police officer is never off-duty irrespective of wearing a uniform or not. A complaint made to any police officer at any point in time must be immediately acted upon by him without the excuse of being “off-duty”.

  8. Immunity & Perks During Pregnancy: Commensurate with the provisions envisaged in the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, no pregnant woman can be dismissed from her job by any company/organization and such an action could be subjected to imprisonment for a maximum period of 3 years. Moreover, if the organization (Government as well as private) consists of more than 10 working employees, then the expectant woman is further eligible for a compensated maternity leave of 84 days.

  9. Bargainers’ Delight: According to the Maximum Retail Price Act of 2014, no shopkeeper can charge a higher price for an item more than the printed price but the customers are unrestricted to bargain for a lower price or a probable discount.

  10. Right to Life: According to Article 21 of the Constitution, it’s a binding obligation of the government to implement necessary measures to safeguard your life and to protect you at all times.


Indraneel Chakraborty is currently studying Law at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies.

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