Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It is no LAWughing matter

Laws are enacted by a legislature or a body elected by the people and reflect the situation and needs of the society at the time of their enactment.   As with any other aspect of life, with change in times, behavioral pattern and practices accepted by the society, requirement of amending existing laws or enactment of new laws arise.   These issues are addressed by the law enacting bodies from time to time.   Several sections of an existing law are repealed or modified to match the need of times.  Sometimes a fresh enactment is put in place replacing a whole existing law that has become obsolete.  But until such time that they are repealed, substituted or modified they make strange reading and appear funny.  What needs to be remembered is that these provisions were put in place after much deliberation and application of mind and by collective wisdom representing equity and fair treatment at the time of their enactment.

Three or four decades ago, in many parts of the world, children were expected to be back home before sunset.  Now night life has become an integral part of life in those very areas.  The world now moves on around the clock and offices and establishments work continuously and without a break.   In a decade or two, day and night may remain as words in the context of movement of the Sun and Earth only.  The way Science and Technology have changed the world over the last two or three decades, anything appears possible.

In one part of the world it was illegal for a husband to beat his wife with a stick larger in diameter than his thumb.   In another area,  a man could legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month.  In yet another area a man could legally beat his wife with a leather strap, as long as it was less than two inches wide or if she gives him permission to beat with a wider strap.   May be the objective of these laws was to restrict higher level of violence.  It is not known whether there was any such restriction on wife beating a husband in some part of the world!

In one place it is illegal to attend a theater within four hours of eating garlic.   In another place barbers were forbidden from eating Onions from 7 am to 7 pm.   In yet another place, ministers are forbidden from eating onion or garlic before delivering a sermon.   "An apple a day keeps doctors away" goes a saying.   "A garlic a day keeps everybody away" say garlic haters.   But today garlic has become a must for many dishes and restaurants will be out of business without use of garlic.  And half the vegetable dishes may disappear without Onion.

In one place, it is illegal for a man to kiss a woman while she is asleep.   In another place it is illegal to waking up a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking photographs.   In another place, a person is considered as sober until he or she "cannot hold on to the ground".

There are or were some interesting provisions for horses and women.  That is when taken together.  In one place it is illegal for women weighing more than 200 pounds (90 Kg) to ride horses in shorts.   In another area, it is illegal for a woman to ride horseback down a public street with a kimono on.

Also about use of clothes.  And purposes.  In one area, it is illegal to wipe one's car with a used underwear.   In another place, it is illegal to sing while wearing a bathing suit.   In yet another place, women are not permitted to wear anything red, in public.   In another place, it is illegal for an on-duty firefighter to rescue a woman wearing a nightgown;  in order to be rescued, a woman must be fully dressed.

In one area,  it is illegal for a tenant to bite his/her landlord.   In another place,  to bite someone is considered as a simple assault, but to bite someone with false teeth is considered "aggravated assault".   Sound logic that, because it involves using a foreign object which is not a part of one's body.

It is a felony for  a wife to open her husband's mail in one place.  A man's mistreatment of his mother-in-law cannot be a ground for divorce in some other place.  It is illegal to remarry the same man four times in yet another place.

It is illegal to make love in a car, unless it is parked on own property, as per the local laws in one place.  Implying that not only movable but immovable property should be your own!

There are websites and TV serials that bring out such paradoxes.   Provisions of law that were considered a must and reasonable when they were enacted, but might have outlived their time now.   It is funny and entertaining to read them and think about their relevance today.


  1. These laws are no doubt funny,but they are incompetent,irrelavant and..............because they are not absolute laws,which cannot be questioned by the laws of humans.......

  2. Thinking of Laws, To Each His Own ...... “A human law, in so far as it deviates from reason is called an unjust law, and has the nature, not of law but of violence".

    Sir Can You give me some Inputs on "Sagotra Marriages"?

    Here in the case the girl is a Mulakanadu Smartha, Yajurvedi, apastambha Sutra.
    Boy is a Udupi Smartha, Rigvedi, Aashwalayana Sutra.

    they both Follow different Customs such as girl's is Chandramana Ugadi, boy's side celebrate Souramana Ugadi.

    They have no Relevance in either Paternal or Maternal Entities nor they Fall under Shoucha / Ashoucha Circle.

    Still they have to face an Opposition for Marriage....