Explain the law and order regulations which are enforced in India and which are to be followed by a tourist.

All tourists in the matter of law and order regulations are subject to the regulations enforce in the land of their visit. India is an attractive tourist destination, yet tourists have, on occasions, complained of the treatment they get while vacationing in India.

There is a lack of tourism consciousness which leads to avoidable behaviour towards the tourist, particularly by dealers and shopkeepers, intermediaries and tourist guides, touts, owners of boarding houses or house boats, hoteliers, and operators of surface transport. The essential information for the facility of the tourists in such matters is given here.

Police and District Officials.

The administrative set up in India divides the country into states and further sub-divided into districts. Each district in the state is manned by a District Magistrate/Collector and a Police Chief designated as the superintendent/senior superintendent of police. These two officials are the top functionaries of the state at the district level.

The tourist should be advised to meet either of these officials in case of any difficulty pertaining to the matter of law and order in the district. In all emergencies 100 is the number to be dialed. You must also learn how to file the first information report in police station.

Law on Cheating.

Tourists often complain of cheating while shopping. There have been complaints that at times guides and touts tend to direct the tourist to shops which give them a percentage on the amount of business they generate. Whenever the tourist does not patronize the establishment suggested by a guide, he is treated indifferently. Another type of complaint is that of cases like the ones listed below

  • A tourist has come to see the Taj at Agra. He is told there is curfew and he cannot go (which is not true). He is pushed towards shopping.
  • The tourist wants to see some museum. He is told repairs are going on hence he should spend that time on shopping.
  • Fare of deluxe bus is charged but he puts on the ordinary bus.
  • The tourist wants to go to government emporium instead he is taken to private shop with government approved written on its board etc.

The tourist’s money and belongings are some times stolen or missing with the negligence of the hotel staff. Hotel have also been, at times, accused of overcharging beyond approved tariffs, over-billing for services and overbooking.

The business code is also based on an attitude of mistrust and given the fact that regulations are difficult to enforce tourists or travel organizers often face genuine problems which can be in the nature of a breach of contract.

The legal system in India is extremely overburdened. For a tourist to get a just settlement from a court can take many years. The first complaint has to be registered at a district court where the backlog of cases is already so enormous that a time bound settlement is unrealistic.

Law on Antiquities.

The antiquities of India are covered under Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. According to the rules given in this Act, the following items come under the category of antiquities and art treasures:

  • Sculpture,
  • Painting,
  • Other works of art and craftsmanship illustrative of science, art, craft and religion and of historical interest.

All the above items to become antiquities, should have been in existence for not less than one hundred years. In addition to those, all manuscripts or other documents of scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic value in existence for not less than seventy five years cannot be exported out of India.

Shopping Malpractices Regulations.

Tourist spending is becoming an increasingly important source of revenue generation especially in hard currency, in most tourist receiving countries. This is particularly important in India, where the average stay of a tourist is reckoned to be 28 days. This implies that the opportunity for a tourist to shop in the different cities increases. In the items of tourist expenditure, next to transport and accommodation, shopping is the third important area.

India offers & diversity of shopping interests and attractions for tourists i.e. from inexpensive souvenirs and handicrafts to the costly variety of gems and jewellery, carpets, artifacts, precious stones, paintings etc. Not with standing with the foregoing complaints commonly voiced against shopping in India relate to

  • Non-adherence of quality standards,
  • Supplied product not matching the samples approved, and
  • Unscrupulous practices of touts and petty shopkeepers who mushroom around tourist spots.
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