Balloons and kites illegal in India? Check out these 7 other ?? laws

This article is more than 12 months old

Did you know it is currently illegal to fly a kite or a balloon in India?

Yes, it's an archaic law that dates back to a 1934 act.

And this is just one of hundreds of outdated laws that new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hoping to repeal.

This is reported to be the largest-ever cull of rules that has earned India its reputation of a place that is difficult to do business.

Modi is hoping that axeing these laws will hasten decision-making and push India ahead in the rankings of World Bank's ease of doing business table. 

It is currently ranked a dismal 134 out of 189 countries.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is leading the clean-up, said: "Some of the laws on our books are laughable. Others have no place in a modern and democratic India."

Here are examples of some of these archaic laws (some of which are downright bizarre):

1. Finders keepers? Not quite.

The 1878 India Treasure Trove Act states that finders of treasure of any value more than 10 rupees has to inform a senior local official of the "nature and amount of approximate value of such treasure".

If not, the "treasure" rightfully belongs to Her Majesty (yes, the Queen).

But remember, the British left India in 1947.

2. Balloons and kites are illegal

Under the law, an aircraft is defined as "any machine which can derive support in the atmosphere from reactions of the air".

Yes, that includes balloons and kites. 

3. Illegal postal service

According to the 1898 Indian Post Office Act, only the federal government has the "exclusive privilege of conveying by post, from one place to another".

If you didn't want to break the law, you had to get a friend to sent the letter to the recipient - although no money can be exchanged.

To circumvent this law, letters are now known as "documents" and yes, they are mailed.

4. Asking for water at hotels

The 1867 Sarais act says that public sarais (rest houses) are legally obliged to provide free drinking water to passers-by.

It is reported that even now, the law is used to work around hotel owners who want to charge for water.

5. No Bob Marley T-shirts

The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act prevents the "dissemination of certain publications harmful to young persons".

But this has been misused.

Shopkeepers in southern Kerala state were charged under this law for selling Bob Marley T-shirts as the authorities believed that young people would be encouraged to consume drugs.

6. Big Brother is watching you (if you're a foreigner)

Under the Registration of Foreigners' Act, foreigners staying in India for more than 180 days have to report their movements from one place to another to the authorities.

7. Only beauty queens and kings for traffic inspectors?

Under the Motor Vehicles Act, the state of Andhra Pradesh decreed that a motor inspector must have a good set of teeth. And anyone with a "pigeon chest, knock knees, flat foot, hammer toes, and fractured limbs" will be disqualified.

Source: BBC, Reuters

Indianardenra modilist