Bizarre Laws Around the World

Since time immemorial, the system of laws has been used by the human race to control and regulate human action. The earliest recorded and identified sets of laws can be traced back to 3000 BC during the dawn of the Egyptian Civilisation. As the societies of the world evolved through the ages, so did the Laws that governed them, right from the stone age and ancient human civilisation to the medieval era, and now in modern times. After the concept of territories and countries originated, each sovereign state started formulating its laws and made their Constitutions, which consisted of fundamental principles that were key to governing the state and its people.

However, in some cases, laws enacted in prevalent times are outdated and have not been repealed, or the laws themselves have not been enforced properly. The presence of these archaic laws leads to some bizarre scenarios, let’s take a look at some of them:


In Delhi, people can be summoned to help in case of locust attacks

According to the East Punjab Agricultural Pests, Diseases and Noxious Act, 1949, the Government can summon any individual above the age of 14 to support in carrying out preventive measures. Violation of this act can also result in a fine up to Rs.250 and/or imprisonment up to a month. Face the locusts or jail, you decide?

It is illegal to attempt to commit suicide

According to Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any individual who attempts to commit suicide but is unsuccessful can be imprisoned and/or fined for committing such an act. The law was brought by the British in the 19th century – who believed that this was an act against the state and religion – and hence punished those who survived.

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It is illegal to store or consume alcohol without a permit

According to the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949, a permit is necessary to consume, possess, transport or purchase alcohol. And you must be above 25 to purchase the license. The single-day permit costs Rs.5, but you can apply for a lifetime permit for Rs.1000. So, most of the students reading this are legally underage.

Outside India

It is illegal for a person to ‘hold salmon under suspicious circumstances’ in the United Kingdom

The Salmon Act of 1986 is meant to protect against illegal fishing. But, the act also prohibits people from randomly carrying fresh salmon and other fish on the street. If found guilty, you are also liable to pay a fine, so avoid walking with a salmon in your hands.

It is illegal to kill Bigfoot in Washington

Although Bigfoot is a fictional character, Skamania County, Washington passed an ordinance in 1984 that killing this ‘endangered’ creature can get you a year in jail and/or a $1000 fine. Suggestion: If you do see Bigfoot, try taking a picture and then run.

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It is illegal to not walk your dog at least three times a day in Turin, Italy

Turin has some of the most stringent animal protection laws in Italy. Any dog owner that does not walk their dog at least thrice a day is liable to pay a fine of up to €500. This law should be applicable throughout the world.

It is illegal to import or sell chewing gum in Singapore

In 1992, chewing gum was banned in Singapore. Any person caught selling chewing gum faces a fine of up to $100000 and/or prison term for up to 2 years. Annoying someone with a musical instrument, connecting to someone else’s WiFi and feeding pigeons is also illegal.

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