The Law and Legality of Smart Contracts

The Law and Legality of Smart Contracts


Blockchain is a new way that computer technologies, including encryption algorithms, consensus mechanisms, distributed data storage, and point-to-point transmission, can be applied. One of the key ideas behind Bitcoin is blockchain. The data block, which is used to create the subsequent block and confirm the accuracy of its information, includes details about a group of Bitcoin network transactions. The essential technology for enabling data circulation in the Blockchain’s higher layer is smart contracts. They automatically finish and carry out the contract’s instructions while executing intricate operations on a variety of chain data.


One of the trendiest topics in blockchain technology study right now is smart contracts. In essence, a smart contract is a computer program. Through the computer, the trader can translate the terms of the contract they have entered into recognizable program code. The system will cause the associated code to run automatically when the criteria specified by the program are satisfied. This demonstrates how the control of human will remains crucial to the outcome of smart contracts.

Smart Contracts

The idea of smart contracts originated as early as 1994 when Nick Szabo first coined the term, using it to refer to “a set of promises, specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on these promises.”[1] Szabo’s original idea of smart contracts was broad enough that some smart contracts will fulfil the requirements of a legally enforceable contract while others will not.[2] Szabo’s idea lay dormant for many years because the technology did not yet exist to support the implementation of smart contracts.[3]

Law and Regulations

In every significant area of the operations that fall within their purview, traditional contracts have a plain, unambiguous, and enforceable legal foundation. However, there is no legal oversight for smart contracts that are used with Blockchain technology. Laws that provide a framework as well as particular legal, regulatory, and system-level agreements should form the legal foundation of a smart contract. Each party to the transaction must be aware of their own contractual rights and obligations in addition to concentrating on the system as a whole.

Because Blockchain technology is used as a data transaction platform, no single entity can alter the agreement in the smart contract, so there is no centralized regulator that can force changes and processing of the agreement, regardless of whether it is a transaction party or a third-party organization. This, however, is fundamentally different from the typical contract, where the supervisory authority is in charge and has the power to modify the contract’s terms. A smart contract’s agreement does not specify any of its participants’ legal rights or responsibilities. The protocol substitutes the current legal framework and regulatory body’s implementation procedure in a decentralized, distributed, intelligent contract system, which is the foundation of the payment ecosystem. These frameworks do not adequately manage the risks associated with contract execution since the existing regulatory agencies do not offer a legal foundation for the use of blockchain-enabled smart contracts.

Legal Effect of Smart Contracts

The underlying architecture of decentralized distributed smart contracts, which makes use of Blockchain technology, has the ability to actually alleviate many of the hazards that present rules are trying to address. For instance, by processing atomic transactions in real time, Blockchain cross-border payment systems significantly lower settlement and transaction risk. Those who are able to comply with the system’s specific requirements, however, will be able to decrease many risks and increase efficiency by limiting access to financial market utilities. More market players will be able to get real-time payment settlement as a result of their recognition of the system’s capacity to reduce counterparty and settlement risk. As a result, the fundamental understanding of a smart contract has greater legal force than the terms of a conventional contract. Traditional contracts and current legal provisions, on the other hand, are verbally expressed. There is a risk of conflicting meanings of the same word when there is unclear legislative interpretation or unclear party interpretation. Consequently, the stipulations and dealings in common contracts. The content is not translated into code right away; there is space for interpretation. It is challenging to come to a decision and carry out the smart contract successfully if it is not completely understood. Consequently, in order to guarantee the enforceability of the terms of the contract, the smart contract must be concluded with high legal certainty by using the code as the representation of the agreement of all parties.


In conclusion, the technology of smart contracts will continue to advance, and the legal concerns that surround it will also, since they include new and creative considerations that go outside the purview of contract law. We anticipate that supply chain management, government and smart city operations, digital asset sales, venture capital and capital markets, real estate registries, self-sovereign identity, and other as-yet-unimagined use cases will all be significantly impacted by smart contracts, both technologically and legally. While legal risk is always present in any technology platform, we find that businesses who prepare ahead can and can successfully reduce these risks while providing smart contract-enabled goods and services.

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written  by Nimisha Sunny


[1] Nick Szabo, Smart Contracts: Building Blocks for Digital Markets (1996), http://www.fon.hum.uva.nl/rob/Courses/InformationInSpeech/CDROM/Literature/LOTwinterschool2006/szabo.best.vwh.net/smart_contracts_2.html; Nick Szabo, Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks, FIRST MONDAY (Sept. 1, 1997), http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/548/469

[2] Carla L. Reyes, Conceptualizing Cryptolaw, 96 NEB. L. REV. 384, 396 (2017).

[3] William Mougayar, 9 Myths Surrounding Blockchain Smart Contracts, COINDESK (Mar. 23, 2016), www.coindesk.com/smart-contract-myths-blockchain/


Medical Negligence Laws in India.


This article delves into the intricate web of medical negligence laws in India, shedding light on the legal intricacies, consequences, and responsibilities entailed in this multifaceted domain. With a spotlight on the pivotal role of regulatory bodies like the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the establishment of consumer courts, it explores the avenues through which medical negligence cases are addressed. Additionally, it examines the surge in medical malpractice insurance, the emergence of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, and the evolving jurisprudence surrounding medical negligence in India. As India navigates the dynamic landscape of healthcare, this article serves as a valuable resource for healthcare professionals, policymakers, and individuals seeking a deeper understanding of medical negligence laws in the country. With a commitment to balance the rights of patients and healthcare providers, India’s evolving legal framework strives to ensure accountability and uphold the highest standards of medical care.


The realm of medical practice carries profound implications for both healthcare providers and patients, intertwined with intricate legal considerations. In India, the landscape of medical negligence laws has undergone significant evolution, reflecting the nation’s commitment to strike a delicate equilibrium between medical autonomy and patient rights. As the country continues to place a heightened premium on the sanctity of human life and well-being, understanding the contours of medical negligence laws becomes an imperative for healthcare professionals, legal practitioners, policymakers, and individuals alike. Medical negligence, though not explicitly defined in Indian statutes, represents a pivotal aspect of the legal framework governing the healthcare landscape. As such, this article endeavours to provide clarity by outlining the fundamental elements of medical negligence, the duty of care that doctors owe to their patients, and the standards by which their actions are assessed. By drawing from select judicial opinions of India’s higher courts, it elucidates the consequences of medical negligence, categorizing them into criminal liability, monetary liability, and disciplinary action, each with its unique implications. Furthermore, the article delves into the intricate web of informed consent, emphasizing the pivotal role of patient autonomy in healthcare decisions. It explores the boundaries within which medical practitioners must operate, recognizing that while they possess expertise, the ultimate choice should rest with the patient, guided by adequate information and consultation. As the legal landscape surrounding medical negligence in India continues to evolve, this article navigates through advisory guidelines and safeguards, as enunciated by the Supreme Court. It highlights the importance of preserving the sanctity of professional judgments while safeguarding patient interests. Additionally, it discusses the safeguards put in place to protect healthcare providers from frivolous and unjust criminal prosecutions, including the necessity of obtaining independent medical opinions. In a rapidly changing healthcare ecosystem, this article aims to serve as a beacon of clarity, providing insights, guidance, and an understanding of the legal nuances that underpin medical negligence laws in India. It acknowledges the dual responsibility of ensuring accountability for medical professionals and safeguarding the autonomy and well-being of patients. As we embark on this journey through the realm of medical negligence laws in India, we invite readers to explore the evolving landscape where medicine and the law intersect, forging a path toward equitable healthcare for all.

Overview of the Consequences:

Within the intricate framework of medical negligence laws in India, the ramifications of legally cognizable medical negligence can be broadly categorized into three distinct consequences: criminal liability, monetary liability, and disciplinary action. These consequences are a result of breaches of duty or wrongful acts committed by healthcare professionals in the course of their practice, and they play a pivotal role in ensuring accountability and safeguarding patient interests within the healthcare landscape.

Criminal Liability:

Criminal liability in cases of medical negligence is primarily governed by the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). While the IPC does not explicitly define “medical negligence,” it provides a legal basis for holding healthcare professionals criminally liable for their actions or omissions. Notably, Section 304A of the IPC deals with cases involving the death of a person due to a rash or negligent act. This provision is frequently invoked in cases of medical negligence leading to a patient’s demise and can result in imprisonment for up to two years. Additionally, other general provisions of the IPC, such as Section 337 (causing hurt) and Section 338 (causing grievous hurt), are also utilized in the context of medical negligence cases. The distinction between civil and criminal liability hinges on the degree of negligence, with criminal liability typically requiring a higher threshold of recklessness or gross negligence.

Monetary Liability:

Monetary liability, often in the form of compensation, is another significant consequence of medical negligence. It arises from civil actions initiated by patients or their dependents seeking redress for injuries or harm caused by medical professionals. These actions are typically pursued before civil courts or consumer forums, where claimants must establish that the medical professional breached their duty of care, resulting in harm or injury to the patient. Permanent lok adalats, established under the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, can also adjudicate on cases related to medical negligence involving “public utility services.” These lok adalats attempt conciliation before making determinations on the merits of the matter. Monetary compensation can be substantial, and the quantum of damages is assessed based on factors such as the severity of harm, medical expenses, loss of income, and other relevant considerations.

Disciplinary Action:

Disciplinary action against medical practitioners is governed by the Indian Medical Council (IMC) (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, formulated under the IMC Act, 1956. The IMC and State Medical Councils have the authority to take disciplinary measures against healthcare professionals for professional misconduct. Such misconduct can encompass a range of actions, including medical negligence. Disciplinary actions may include suspension or the permanent removal of a medical practitioner’s name from the medical register, thereby barring them from practicing medicine. It’s important to note that professional misconduct is a broader concept that may encompass medical negligence, and the specifics of each case determine the disciplinary measures taken. The consequences of medical negligence in India are both multifaceted and far-reaching. They serve the dual purpose of holding healthcare professionals accountable for their actions while providing recourse to patients who have suffered harm or injury due to substandard care. By encompassing criminal, civil, and disciplinary dimensions, the legal framework strives to maintain a delicate balance between ensuring the quality of healthcare and protecting the rights of patients. Consequently, healthcare providers in India operate within a legal landscape that demands a high standard of care, while also recognizing the inherent complexities and uncertainties of medical practice.

Basic Features of Medical Negligence and Standard of Care:

To comprehend the nuances of medical negligence in India, it is crucial to delve into its fundamental features and the yardstick applied to assess the standard of care expected from healthcare professionals. Medical negligence encompasses breaches of duty or wrongful acts by medical practitioners during the provision of medical care to patients. Here, we explore the key elements of medical negligence and the standards of care that guide legal determinations:

Duty of Care:

A paramount element of medical negligence is the duty of care owed by healthcare professionals to their patients. The duty to decide whether to undertake a case or not. It is the duty of a medical officer to determine the appropriate course of treatment with Care and Competence. The duty not to undertake procedures beyond one’s capabilities. Healthcare providers are expected to exercise a reasonable degree of skill, knowledge, and care when discharging these duties.

Breach of Duty:

Negligence, in the context of medical practice, is essentially a breach of the duty of care. It occurs when a healthcare professional fails to meet the standard of care expected of a reasonably skilled and prudent practitioner. The breach of duty can manifest in various forms, including errors in diagnosis, treatment, surgical procedures, prescription of medication, and the failure to obtain informed consent. Notably, errors of judgment alone do not necessarily imply negligence. Gross errors, however, may lead to findings of negligence.


A critical aspect of medical negligence is establishing a causal link between the breach of duty and the resultant harm or injury suffered by the patient. The law requires that the breach of duty must be the direct or proximate cause of the harm. In other words, there must be a clear connection between the negligent act or omission and the adverse outcome.

Standard of Care:

The standard of care expected from healthcare professionals is a pivotal aspect of medical negligence cases. It sets the benchmark against which their actions are evaluated. In India, the standard of care is often assessed using the “Bolam test,” which requires healthcare professionals to adhere to the standard of the ordinary skilled person in their field, rather than the highest level of expertise. This test recognizes that the medical field is characterized by varying approaches and opinions, and it evaluates whether the practitioner’s actions align with those of a reasonably skilled peer in similar circumstances.

Errors of Judgment:

It is important to distinguish between errors of judgment and gross negligence. Errors of judgment, arising from complex medical decisions, do not necessarily equate to negligence. Gross mistakes, however, such as administering the wrong drug, operating on the wrong patient, or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient, may constitute gross negligence and warrant legal action.

Shifting Burden of Proof:

In medical negligence cases, the burden of proof initially rests with the party alleging negligence. The claimant must demonstrate a prima facie case of negligence. Once this threshold is met, the burden shifts to the healthcare provider to establish that there was no lack of care or diligence in their actions.

Evolving Standards:

Standards of care are not static and may evolve over time with advances in medical knowledge and technology. The standard of care applied is often influenced by the prevailing medical practices and opinions at the time of the incident. The assessment of medical negligence cases in India is a meticulous process that takes into account the complexities of medical practice and the need to balance accountability with the autonomy of healthcare professionals. While healthcare providers are held to high standards, the law recognizes the inherent uncertainties and variations in medical science, ensuring that judgments are fair and grounded in reasonable expectations of care.

Cases related to Medical Negligence

  • Indian Medical Association v. V.P. Shantha (1996):

This case introduced the concept of ‘informed consent,’ which mandates that patients must be provided with comprehensive information about the potential risks associated with a medical procedure before granting consent. The Supreme Court ruled that a failure to secure informed consent from a patient could constitute an act of medical negligence.

  • Martin F. D’Souza v. Mohd. Ishfaq (2009):

In this case, the Supreme Court delineated the expected standard of care for healthcare professionals. The court emphasized that a medical practitioner must possess the knowledge and skills that are reasonably anticipated from a competent professional in their respective field.

  • Samira Kohli v. Dr. Prabha Manchanda (2008):

Addressing the issue of vicarious liability in instances of medical negligence, this case established that a hospital can be held accountable for the negligence of its staff, even if the hospital itself was not directly responsible for the wrongdoing.

  • Malay Kumar Ganguly v. Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee (2009):

This case revolved around the significance of expert opinions in medical negligence lawsuits. The Supreme Court clarified that expert opinions can serve as evidence in such cases, but they should not be the sole basis for determining whether negligence occurred.

  • Kusum Sharma v. Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre (2010):

In this case, the Supreme Court affirmed that patients have the right to seek compensation for medical negligence, even in the absence of physical injuries. The court emphasized that mental distress and trauma resulting from medical negligence can also be grounds for compensation.

Advisory to Doctors and Safeguards in Criminal Prosecution by Supreme Court

Recognizing the increasing frequency of criminal prosecutions against doctors, which can be both distressing and disruptive to their professional lives, the Supreme Court of India has laid down certain advisory guidelines to protect medical practitioners from frivolous and unjust prosecutions. These guidelines, until statutory rules or government instructions in consultation with the Medical Council of India (MCI) are issued, provide essential safeguards to doctors facing criminal charges related to medical negligence. Here, we delve into these important safeguards:

Prima Facie Evidence Requirement:

Private complaints alleging medical negligence may not be entertained by the legal system unless the complainant provides prima facie evidence in the court. This evidence should take the form of a credible opinion from another competent doctor.

Independent Medical Opinion:

In cases involving medical negligence allegations, the investigating officer is required to obtain an independent and competent medical opinion. This opinion should ideally be provided by a doctor in government service who is qualified in the relevant medical field. This requirement aims to ensure an impartial and unbiased evaluation of the case, applying the Bolam test to the collected facts during the investigation.

Restriction on Routine Arrests:

Routine arrests of doctors should be avoided unless they are deemed necessary for furthering the investigation or for collecting evidence. Arrests should not be made solely on the assumption that the doctor may attempt to evade legal proceedings. These safeguards are aimed at protecting doctors from the undue burden of criminal prosecutions, particularly when the allegations lack credible evidence or are driven by frivolous motives. By setting these guidelines, the legal system seeks to strike a balance between accountability and the prevention of harassment of medical professionals.


In conclusion, the realm of medical negligence laws in India is a multifaceted landscape that balances the rights of patients with the professional judgments of healthcare practitioners. This intricate equilibrium is vital to uphold the highest standards of patient care while acknowledging the inherent complexities and uncertainties present in the practice of medicine. The consequences of legally cognizable medical negligence can range from criminal liability and monetary compensation to disciplinary action. The legal system in India has laid out mechanisms to address these consequences while respecting the autonomy of medical professionals and the challenges they face. The concept of medical negligence is underpinned by the duty of healthcare practitioners to exercise care, diligence, and a reasonable degree of skill while making clinical judgments. Errors of judgment, which are not uncommon in the medical field, do not necessarily amount to negligence unless they are gross or reckless. Informed consent is another crucial facet of medical negligence laws, emphasizing patients’ rights and autonomy in making decisions about their treatment. While professional judgments are respected, healthcare providers are required to obtain valid informed consent based on adequate information. The legal system relies on expert opinions from qualified medical professionals to navigate the complexities of medical negligence cases. Courts do not substitute their judgment for that of medical experts but may intervene if medical actions are deemed highly unreasonable. Moreover, safeguards have been put in place to protect doctors from frivolous criminal prosecutions. These safeguards require prima facie evidence, independent medical opinions, and restrict routine arrests in cases of medical negligence allegations. Medical negligence laws in India continue to evolve, and there is a growing recognition of the need to strike a balance between safeguarding patient rights and respecting the autonomy of medical professionals. As the field of medicine advances and new challenges emerge, the legal framework surrounding medical negligence will adapt to ensure that both patients and healthcare providers are treated fairly and justly within the healthcare system.









“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Article Written By: Jangam Shashidhar.



Tobacco control laws in India.


This is a comprehensive review of the various aspects of tobacco control, with a particular focus on the Indian scenario. It includes information on the tobacco habits prevalent in India, health and environmental risks caused by tobacco consumption, passive smoking, tobacco control legislation in India, and the way forward for effective tobacco control. Tobacco is one of the leading preventable causes of death, killing almost six million people worldwide every year. Turning this completely avoidable manmade epidemic into an end in itself should be our topmost priority. The global tobacco epidemic is killing more people than TB, HIV/AIDS, and malaria put together. This epidemic can be overcome by understanding the devastating consequences of tobacco consumption, learning about the effective tobacco control measures in the home country, understanding the national programmes and legislation in place, and then taking decisive action to stop the epidemic and move towards a tobacco free world. India is the 2nd largest consumer of tobacco in the world, and accounts for about one-sixths of the world’s tobacco-related deaths India’s tobacco problem is unique in that tobacco is consumed in many forms, from smokeless to smoking. We need to better understand the tobacco challenge in India, spend more time on what works, and explore the impact of socio-cultural diversity and the cost effectiveness of different tobacco control approaches. 


Every year, tobacco use causes the death of approximately 6 million people worldwide. According to WHO estimates, 100 million premature tobacco-related deaths occurred worldwide in the twentieth century and if current trends continue, it is expected that this number will reach 1 billion by the twenty-first century. According to Jha et al., smoking will cause about 1 million deaths annually in India by the early twenty-first century. According to Gupta et al., tobacco-related mortality among Indian males and females is estimated to be around 23.7 percent among men aged 35-69 and 83.7 percent among women aged 35-69 years. In another cohort study from south India, tobacco chewing was associated with a mortality risk of 0.86-0.94 and a mortality risk of 1.22-1.44 respectively, while smoking was associated with mortality risks of 1.31-1.39 and 1.36-2.08 respectively.

According to the NFHS-3 survey conducted in 2005-06, tobacco consumption is more common among men, rural people, illiterate people, poor and vulnerable people. According to the GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey) conducted among persons aged 15 years and above in 2009–10, 34.6 % of the adults are current tobacco users (47.9 % males & 20.3 % females). 14 % of the adult’s smoke tobacco (24.3 % males & 2.9 % females) and 25 % smokeless tobacco (32.9% males & 18.4 % females). According to GATS (Global Youth Tobacco Survey (2009), among the students aged 13-15 years, 14.6 % students are tobacco users. The tobacco problem in India is very multifaceted, with a wide range of smoking forms and a wide range of smokeless tobacco options. Many tobacco products are manufactured in cottage & small-scale industries, with different mixtures and manufacturing processes. Bidis are mostly produced in the unorganized sector, while cigarettes are mainly produced by large-scale industries. The World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in May 2003, with India being the 8th country to ratify on February 5, 2004. The WHO FCTC is an international public health treaty developed in response to the global tobacco epidemic. The aim of the treaty is to reduce the burden of tobacco-related diseases and deaths. Legislation has long been recognized as the most important factor in achieving meaningful tobacco control results. The WHO Framework Convention adopts scientific evidence-based policies that have been proven to reduce tobacco consumption. The Convention does not prescribe a specific law, but instead provides guidance for national and international measures to promote smoking cessation and discourage nonsmokers from engaging in the habit. The success of the WHO Framework Convention (FCTC), which, as of July 2009, had more than 160 Parties representing 86% of the global population, shows the global political will to make tobacco control much more comprehensive and successful. The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a set of policies to help countries follow the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The MPOWER package includes six key tobacco control strategies: monitoring tobacco use, preventing tobacco use, protecting people from tobacco, helping people quit tobacco, warning people about tobacco, banning tobacco advertising, promoting and sponsoring, and raising taxes on tobacco.

Since 1975, India has been required to have a health warning on every cigarette package and advertisement. This law, known as the COTPA, was passed by the Indian Parliament in April 2003 and became law on May 18, 2004. The law applies to all tobacco products in any form and is applicable to the entire country.

COTPA-2003 includes the following key provisions:

  • Cessation of Smoking in Public Places (including Indoor Workplaces) (Effective 2nd October 2008)
  • Prohibition of Advertising, Direct and Indirect (Point-of-sale Advertising is allowed)
  • Prohibition of Sponsorship and Promotion of Tobacco Products
  • Prohibition of Sale to Minorities (Tobacco Products cannot be sold to Minorities under the age of 18 and Cannot be sold within 100 yards of any Educational Institution)
  • Regulation of Health warnings in Tobacco Products Packages (English and one additional Indian Language)
  • Including pictorial health warnings in Tobacco Packages.
  • Regulation and Testing of Tar and Nicotine Content of Tobacco Products and Declaration on Tobacco Products Packages.

National Tobacco Control Programme

The National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) was launched by the Government of India (GOI) under the XIX Five Year Plan to implement Tobacco Control Laws, raise awareness on the harmful effects of Tobacco and to comply with the obligations under the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Cabinet Committee on economic affairs (CCEA) approved the NTCP on 28 January 2010. The NTCP will set up tobacco product testing laboratories and provide baseline estimates of the prevalence of tobacco and the status of implementation of Tobacco Control Law. The pilot phase will cover 42 districts in 21 states.

The activities of the NTCP are:

Smoke Free Places

Smoking is completely banned in many public places and workplaces such as healthcare, educational, and government facilities and on public transport. The law, however, permits the establishment of smoking areas or spaces in airports, hotels having 30 or more rooms, and restaurants having seating capacity for 30 or more. With respect to outdoor places, open auditoriums, stadiums, railway stations, bus stops/stands are smoke free. Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Advertising through most forms of mass media is prohibited. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labelling

Health warning labels are pictorial and text; cover 85 percent of the front and back panels of the tobacco product package parallel to the top edge; and are rotated every 12 months. Misleading packaging and labelling, including terms such as “light,” and “low-tar” and other signs, is prohibited.

Cigarette Contents and Disclosures

The law does not grant the authority to regulate the contents of cigarettes. The law does not require that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.

Sales Restrictions

The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via vending machines and within 100 yards of any educational institution. In addition, several states ban the sale of single cigarettes and gutka and other forms of smokeless tobacco. There are no restrictions on internet sales or the sale of small packets of cigarettes or other tobacco products. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.


The law prohibits the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, and advertising of e-cigarettes. There are no restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes.

Heated Tobacco Products

The sale of heated tobacco products (HTPs) is prohibited. Existing smoking restrictions apply to HTPs. The law bans the direct and indirect advertisement and promotion of both tobacco inserts and devices.

The Impact of New COTPA Amendment Bill 2020

A state’s decision can have a huge impact on the lives of its citizens. But, if it’s done for a good cause, such as the protection of human health, this coercion can be acceptable and even beneficial. The COTPA Amendment bill 2020 has been introduced with several changes. It proposes to raise the age limit for selling and consuming tobacco from 18 to 21. If implemented, it could make selling loose cigarettes a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for up to 7 years. While the 2020 Bill does impose a heavier penalty, it’s reasonable to argue that a sentence of 7 years is disproportionate. For example, selling loose cigarettes at small and micro-scale businesses could be a disproportionate punishment. The punishment in this case is the same as that of negligently causing death or any other serious crime. FRAI has strongly criticized the bill, saying that it doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of expanding black markets, but it could also be a disaster for small-scale stores. The consequences of tobacco smoking in India are expected to be dire. The government has only recently started to address the issue and initiated a legislative process to tackle this societal scourge. However, in order to be effective, the legislation will need to go beyond what is included in the draft Bill, such as raising customs duties on all tobacco products, and closing legal gaps related to advertising. If the tobacco epidemic is to be contained in India, it will require strong political leadership on the part of the government, as well as extensive public education. A deep understanding of political economics will be required for any future comprehensive tobacco control law. As the world’s 3rd largest agricultural tobacco producer, slowing down this sector will require not only political determination and ongoing commitment, but also a thorough analysis of all relevant stakeholders. Public health awareness and awareness-raising campaigns against tobacco, educating and sensitizing all health care professionals about tobacco control and cessation, including tobacco in medical undergraduate curricula, nursing curricula, various conferences, scientific meetings and workshops, etc. In the long run, if all health care providers get involved in tobacco control and prevention, it will make a big difference. By expanding tobacco control programs to the edges of society, making them more affordable and socially acceptable, millions of existing tobacco users will be able to quit.


Tobacco use is a major public health problem in India, with an estimated 275 million tobacco users in the country. The Government of India has enacted a number of tobacco control laws in an effort to reduce tobacco use and its harmful effects. These laws have had some success, but more needs to be done to protect the health of the Indian people from the harmful effects of tobacco. One way to strengthen tobacco control laws in India is to increase the size of health warnings on tobacco product packaging. The current health warnings are small and easy to ignore. Larger health warnings would be more effective in deterring people from using tobacco products. Another way to strengthen tobacco control laws is to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products. Flavoured tobacco products are especially appealing to young people, who are more likely to start using tobacco if they are flavoured. Banning the sale of flavoured tobacco products would help to reduce tobacco use among young people. The minimum age for tobacco purchase should also be raised to 21 years. This would make it more difficult for young people to get their hands on tobacco products. Finally, more funding should be provided for the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) and the State Tobacco Control Programs (STCPs). These programs provide information and resources to help people quit smoking and create smoke-free environments in public places. More funding would allow these programs to reach more people and make a greater impact on reducing tobacco use in India. By strengthening tobacco control laws and implementing these recommendations, India can make further progress in reducing tobacco use and its harmful effects.







“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”



An Analysis of Begging as an offence in India.


There is no central law in India that criminalizes begging. In India 22 states and union territories have their own anti-begging laws. These laws vary from state to state, but they generally make it an offence to beg in public places. The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, is the most common anti-begging law in India. This law defines begging as “the act of proffering, or soliciting or receiving alms in a public place”. It also makes it an offence to employ a beggar or to abet begging. The anti-begging laws have been challenged in court on the grounds that they violate the fundamental rights of beggars. The Supreme Court has ruled that the laws are constitutional, but only if they are implemented in a fair and just manner. In practice, the anti-begging laws are often used to harass and discriminate against beggars. Beggars are often arrested and detained without trial, and they may be forced to undergo rehabilitation programs that are not in their best interests.

Keywords: Begging, Exploitation, Trafficking, Fundamental rights.


Begging is the practice of imploring others to grant a favour, often a gift of money, with zero expectation of reciprocation. A person doing such is called a beggar or panhandler. Beggars may operate in public places such as transport routes, urban parks, and markets. Besides money, they may also ask for food, drink, cigarettes or other small items. In India, begging is a complex issue with a long history. It is estimated that there are over 500,000 beggars in India, and the problem is particularly acute in urban areas. There are many reasons why people beg, including poverty, disability, mental illness, and addiction. The Indian government has enacted a number of laws to regulate begging, but these laws have been criticized for being ineffective and for violating the fundamental rights of beggars. The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, for example, makes it a crime to beg in public places. This law has been challenged in court and has been found to be unconstitutional.  There are a number of reasons why begging is illegal in India. One reason is that it is seen as a form of vagrancy and a social nuisance. Begging can also be a form of exploitation, with beggars often being forced to beg by their pimps or traffickers. Additionally, begging can be a threat to public health, as beggars may be carrying diseases or parasites. The penalties for begging under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act vary depending on the circumstances. If a beggar is found begging for the first time, they may be warned or fined. If they are found begging a second time, they may be imprisoned for up to three months or fined up to Rs. 500. If they are found begging a third time, they may be imprisoned for up to one year or fined up to Rs. 1,000. There are a number of ways to address the issue of begging in India. One way is to provide social welfare programs that can help to prevent people from becoming beggars in the first place. Another way is to crack down on the exploitation of beggars by their pimps or traffickers. Additionally, public awareness campaigns can be used to discourage people from giving money to beggars. It is important to note that begging is not always a sign of poverty or desperation. In some cases, people may beg as a way to make a living or to support their families. Begging can also be a symptom of deeper social problems, such as poverty, unemployment, and lack of education. It is important to remember that beggars are human beings who deserve our compassion and understanding. We should not criminalize begging, but we should work to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion that force people to beg in the first place.

Constitution and Begging:

The Constitution of India does not explicitly mention begging. There are a few provisions in the Constitution that could be interpreted to prohibit begging.

  • Article 23(1) prohibits forced labour and other forms of exploitation. This could be interpreted to include begging, as it can be seen as a form of exploitation.
  • Article 21 guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. This could be interpreted to mean that the government cannot force people to beg.
  • Article 39(e) and (f) of the Directive Principles of State Policy state that the state shall direct its policy towards securing that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to adequate means of livelihood, and that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength. This could be interpreted to mean that the government should take steps to address the root causes of begging, such as poverty and unemployment.

The anti-begging laws in India are based on these constitutional provisions. These laws vary from state to state, but they generally make it an offense to beg in public places. The penalties for begging can include imprisonment, fines, and/or detention in a beggars’ home. The constitutionality of the anti-begging laws has been challenged in court several times. In some cases, the courts have upheld the laws, while in other cases they have struck them down. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled definitively on the constitutionality of the anti-begging laws.

Why Begging Should be Criminalized.

  • Begging is seen as a public nuisance.Beggars can be seen as a nuisance to the public, as they can block sidewalks, traffic, and public spaces. They can also be seen as a threat to public safety, as they may be associated with crime or violence.
  • Begging can be exploitative.Some beggars are forced to beg by others, such as pimps or traffickers. These people may take advantage of the beggars’ vulnerability and force them to work in dangerous or exploitative conditions.
  • Begging can discourage people from seeking help.Some people may be reluctant to seek help from social services if they are afraid of being arrested for begging. This can make it more difficult for people to get the help they need to escape poverty and homelessness.
  • Criminalizing begging can help to reduce poverty. By making begging illegal, the government can discourage people from resorting to begging as a way to make money. This can help to reduce poverty by encouraging people to find more productive ways to earn a living.

Why Begging Should be Decriminalized.

  • It violates the right to life.The Constitution of India guarantees the right to life to all citizens. Criminalizing begging puts people in a difficult situation where they have to choose between begging and starving. This is a violation of their right to life.
  • It is ineffective in addressing the root causes of begging.Begging is often a symptom of poverty, lack of education, and mental illness. Criminalizing begging does not address these underlying issues. In fact, it can make them worse by making it more difficult for people to get the help they need.
  • It is cruel and unusual punishment.Arresting and imprisoning people for begging is cruel and unusual punishment. These people are often already struggling to survive, and being arrested and imprisoned will only make their situation worse.
  • It diverts resources away from more effective solutions.The money that is spent on arresting, imprisoning, and detaining beggars could be better spent on providing them with food, shelter, education, and mental health care. These are the things that will actually help them to get out of poverty and become self-sufficient.

Alternatives rather than criminalizing begging:  

  • Providing social welfare programs.The government can provide food, shelter, education, and healthcare to people who are struggling to make ends meet. This will help to reduce the number of people who are forced to beg.
  • Creating job opportunities.The government can create jobs and training programs to help people to get back on their feet. This will give them the opportunity to earn a living and support themselves.
  • Providing mental health care.Many beggars are suffering from mental illness. The government can provide them with access to mental health care so that they can get the treatment they need.

Ram Lakhan vs State (Delhi High Court)


The case involved Ram Lakhan, who was convicted of begging under Section 3 of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959. He challenged his conviction on the ground that the Act was unconstitutional as it violated his fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India.


  • Whether the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 is unconstitutional as it violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India?
  • Whether the mere act of begging can be said to be a crime?
  • Whether the court can order the detention of a beggar in a certified institution without giving him an opportunity to be heard?


The Delhi High Court held that the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 is unconstitutional as it violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court held that the mere act of begging cannot be said to be a crime. The Court also held that the court cannot order the detention of a beggar in a certified institution without giving him an opportunity to be heard.


The decision of the Delhi High Court in Ram Lakhan v. State is a landmark judgment that has had a significant impact on the law of begging in India. The judgment has helped to protect the fundamental rights of beggars and ensure that they are not subjected to arbitrary detention.


Beggars are often seen as dirty and diseased, and they can be a source of annoyance to pedestrians and motorists. Additionally, beggars can sometimes be aggressive in their solicitation of alms, which can make people feel unsafe. Many beggars are forced to beg by their families or pimps, and they are often not given any of the money they collect. Additionally, begging can be a form of child labour, as many children are forced to beg on the streets. Making begging a criminal offense can deter people from begging and encourage them to find other ways to support themselves. Begging is often a symptom of a larger problem, such as poverty or mental illness. Criminalizing begging does not address the root causes of the problem and may actually make it worse. Making begging a criminal offense canstigmatize beggars and make it even more difficult for them to get the help they need. There is a risk of police abuse if begging is made a criminal offense. Police officers may be tempted to use excessive force against beggars, especially if they are poor or marginalized.  Beggars are often seen as dirty and diseased, and they can be a source of annoyance to pedestrians and motorists. Additionally, beggars can sometimes be aggressive in their solicitation of alms, which can make people feel unsafe. Many beggars are forced to beg by their families or pimps, and they are often not given any of the money they collect. Additionally, begging can be a form of child labour, as many children are forced to beg on the streets. There are a number of laws and policies in place in India aimed at preventing and rehabilitating beggars. The National Policy for the Elimination of Beggary, 2014, provides a framework for the government to address the issue of begging. The policy aims to provide education, skills training, and employment opportunities to beggars, as well as to provide them with shelter and medical care. The government has also set up a number of rehabilitation centers for beggars. These centers provide beggars with food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. They also provide beggars with education and skills training, so that they can find employment and become self-sufficient. Despite the efforts of the government, begging remains a problem in India. There are a number of challenges to addressing the issue of begging, including poverty, illiteracy, and lack of employment opportunities. The government is committed to eliminating begging, and it is working to develop more effective policies and programs to address this issue.

In my opinion, making begging a criminal offense is not the best way to address the issue. Begging is a symptom of a larger problem, and criminalizing it does not address the root causes. Instead, the government should focus on providing social welfare programs and services to help people who are struggling to make ends meet. This would help to reduce the number of people who are forced to beg and make it easier for those who are already begging to get the help they need.


The question of the legality of begging is complex and there are strong arguments on both sides. Some people argue that begging is a form of exploitation and that the government has a responsibility to protect people from it. Others argue that begging is a form of free expression and that the government should not interfere with it. Ultimately, the question of whether or not begging is a crime is a matter of public policy. The government will need to weigh the various factors involved, such as the rights of beggars, the needs of the community, and the effectiveness of the anti-begging laws, in order to make a decision. Instead of criminalizing begging, the Indian government should focus on addressing the root causes of poverty and social exclusion. This includes providing financial assistance to poor people, providing job training and placement services, and providing mental health services. The government should also crack down on trafficking and other forms of exploitation that force people to beg. The government of India is committed to addressing the issue and providing assistance to beggars. With continued effort it is possible to eliminate begging in India and improve the lives of those who are currently forced to beg.












137 (2007) DLT 173.

Article Written By: Jangam Shashidhar.


Law and Custodial Death.

The death of a person in custody violates the basic rights of the citizens recognized by the Constitution of India. Typically, it is difficult to secure evidence against the police responsible for adopting third-degree methods since they are in charge of the police station records. The guidelines given by the Supreme Court under various cases provide protection such as the right to be informed about the grounds of arrest, the right to bail, the right to appoint a person to be informed of the arrest and place of detention, etc. The Constitution of India also provides various rights to a person in custody.


Custodial death is one of the most heinous crimes in a civilized society regulated by the Rule of Law. Sometimes, custodial death happens due to not providing proper care at a proper time, due to complications of physical torture by police and some deaths remain suspicious. Custodial death in terms of Human Rights is a wretched offense. Custodial violence is the most prominent factor responsible for deaths in prisons and lock-ups. The incident of custodial death in the world’s greatest democracy has risen. Our Constitution has set out fundamental rights to guarantee certain basic rights and liberties to the citizens. The toll of deaths in police custody is on the rise in the past decade. Many deaths have happened while in custody but no attention has been paid so far. The National Human Rights Commission has proposed that in custodial death cases the police officer in charge must be held liable and not the state. In India, police lock-ups are managed by the police, and such incidents are possible only by their actions. Thus, custodial death is an important issue for a country like India.

Custodial Death

The death of a person while in the custody of the police or judiciary will amount to Custodial Death. Custodial Death can happen due to Negligence by the concerned authorities in any form of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment by the police officers whether it occurs due to investigation or interrogation, unlawful detention of a person more than a stipulated time, and so on. Prisoners are entitled to fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution while they are in custody. They are not deprived of basic human rights except those which are curbed by the court.

Custodial death generally refers to death either in police custody or judicial custody.

Police Custody: A police officer arrests the accused by following the receipt of information or compliant or report by police about crime and prevent him from committing further offenses and brings him to the police station is known as the police custody. In this, the accused is kept in the lock-up.

Judicial CustodyWhen an accused is kept in jail by the order of the concerned magistrate, then it is said to be under Judicial Custody. When an accused is presented before a magistrate, he can either be sent to jail or kept under police custody by the magistrate.

Offenses Committed by Police Misusing the Custody:

Police are misusing the Custody and causing torture to the victims in the custody. This generally means the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment to force someone to make him give some information. Due to this, the victims get immense pain and suffering. It deprives victims of life’s enjoyment and also compels them to commit suicide.

Rape: Rape is one of the prevalent forms of custodial torture. The Mathura rape case where Mathura, a kidnapped minor was raped by three policemen in the lockup is an example of such custodial torture.

Harassment: In Nilabeti Behara v. the State of Orissa, the victim had died due to the harassment and beatings by the police. Such actions are prevalent among the police and it leads to many sufferings to the victims.

Illegal Detention: In Rudal Shah v. the State of Bihar, the accused was kept in jail for 14 years, after his acquittal by the Sessions Court. Such action leads to immense pain and suffering.

Statutory Provisions:

The Constitution of India, 1950

Article 21:

Article 21 provides the citizens of India with the right to life and personal liberty. In the Case of D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal, The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution could not be denied to convicts, under-trials, and other prisoners in custody, except according to the procedure established by law. The Supreme Court in this case laid down certain guidelines to be followed by the Centre and State investigating and security agencies in all cases of arrest and detention. Hence, these guidelines are popularly known as “D.K. Basu guidelines” and are as follows;

  1. The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear clear identification and name tags with their designation.
  2. The police officer carrying out the arrest must make a memo of arrest at the time of the arrest.
  3. A friend or relative or any other person known to the arrestee shall be informed about the arrest as early as possible.
  4. If the next friend or relative of the arrestee lives outside the district or town, they must be informed through the ‘legal aid organization’ in the district and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically after the arrest within a period of 8 to 12 hours.
  5. The arrested person must be instructed about the right to have informed someone about his arrest.
  6. An entry should be made in the diary regarding the arrested person.
  7. The arrestee should be examined at the time of the arrest.
  8. The arrested person should be subjected to medical examination within 48 hours during his detention.
  9. Copies of all documents including the memo of arrest should be sent to the concerned magistrate for his record.
  10. The arrestee should be allowed to meet his lawyer during interrogation.
  11. A police control room should be set up in all district and state headquarters and information about the arrestee has to be communicated within 12 hours of effecting the arrest to the police control room.

There are certain rights for prisoners conferred in Article 21. They are:

  • Right to bail.
  • Right to free legal aid.
  • Right against Solitary Confinement.
  • Right against Handcuffing.
  • Right against inhuman treatment.
  • Right against Illegal Detention.
  • Right to a speedy and fair trial.
  • Right to meet friends and consult a lawyer. 

Article 20:

Article 20(1) provides that a person should be prosecuted as per those laws that were in force when he committed the offense.

Article 20(2) provides that a person shall not be prosecuted and punished for the same offense more than once.

Article 20(3) provides that a person accused of an offense shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Article 22:

Article 22 guarantees protection against arrest and detention in certain cases and provides that no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed of the grounds of such arrest. They shall not be denied the right to consult and defend themselves by a legal practitioner of his choice.Article 22(2) directs that the person arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours of such arrest, excluding the journey time necessary from the place of arrest to the Court of Magistrate.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

  • Section 49 provides that the police are not permitted to use more restraint than is necessary to prevent the escape of the person.
  • Section 50 lays down that every police officer arresting any person without a warrant to communicate to him the full particulars of the offense for which he is arrested and the grounds of such arrest. Further, the police officer is required to inform the person arrested that he is entitled to be released on bail and he may arrange for sureties in the event of his arrest for a non-bailable offense.
  • Section 176 requires the Magistrate to hold an inquiry into the cause of death whenever a person dies in custody of the police.
  • There are some provisions like Section 53, 54, 57, and 167 which are aimed at providing procedural safeguards to a person arrested by the police.

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)

  • A police officer murdering an accused in custody shall be punished for the offense of murder under Section 302.
  • A police officer can be punished for custodial death under ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ (Section 304). The provisions of ‘causing death by negligence’ under Section 304 can also be attracted if the case falls within its ambit.
  • Once the victim has committed suicide and if it is proved that the police officer has abetted the commission of such suicide, then the police officer will be held liable for punishment under section 306.

Punishment for custodial violence

  • If a police officer voluntarily causes hurt or grievous hurt to extort confession, then such police officer shall be punished under section 330 of IPC for voluntarily causing hurt or under Section 331 of IPC for voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
  • A police officer can also be punished for wrongful confinement under Section 342 of IPC.

Compensation to the victim

The court has the power to award monetary compensation in appropriate cases where there has been a violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens. Thus, the court can award compensation to the victims of state violence or the family members of the deceased victim. The Supreme Court directed the Delhi Administration to pay Rs 75,000 as exemplary compensation to the mother of a 9 years old child who died due to beating by the police officer. In Case of Saheli Vs Commissioner of Police.


Today, custodial deaths are prevalent in India. It is one of the worst crimes in our society. Prisoner while in the custody of police is entitled to all rights under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Every month a new case is being reported in India. Since the police play a vital role in safeguarding our life, liberty, and freedom, they must act properly. The law cannot deny basic rights like the right to life, liberty, and dignity to someone who is in the police custody and they must be protected.











“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”