8 Strange Laws Around The World That You Might Not Know

India is a country of laws that sometimes don’t make sense. Some like Section 377 are downright oppressive and some are a colonial hangover. India isn’t alone in this, all over the world nations have ridiculous laws in their book. Whether they are enforced or not, some of them are quite amusing.


Monks cannot reincarnate without government’s permission: 

This law is more ridiculous because China proclaims itself as an atheist state – a state that doesn’t believe in the existence of good governs the reincarnation of monks! This irony has arisen all thanks to Tibet uprising and the current Dalai Lama. The Chinese government has been at loggerheads with him since he managed to escape to India and take shelter here in 1959. While the Chinese have controlled Tibet since 1950, they lack the moral authority and acceptance of Tibetans who revere the Dalai Lama. Thus this law is to gain control over who becomes the next Dalai Lama and to bring in a Dalai Lama who would turn Tibetans in favour of the government at Beijing.


Chewing gum is banned:

This law I support wholeheartedly. I get completely grossed out with gum in people’s mouth. Singapore shares this pet peeve. However, their reasons were different. Aside from public cleanliness, chewing gum was causing maintenance problems in high-rise public-housing apartments, with vandals disposing of spent gum in mailboxes, inside keyholes and on lift buttons. The biggest issue was vandals sticking chewing gum on the door sensors of trains, preventing doors from functioning properly and causing disruption to train services. The only exceptions to this rule are nicotine gums and dental gums.

Taber, Alberta

A ban on yelling, swearing and spitting:

If you are Anurag Kashyap, you might want to skip this little town if looking for a foreign location. Heck, I might skip it too. They had a trial of this law for a year and after a year of being polite, they decided to keep this law. It’s not a surprise that they are looking to repeal the recent legalization of marijuana in Canada. The next season of roadies, definitely not in Alberta.

Some US states

Atheists cannot hold public office and/or testify in court etc:

These infamous states are Arkansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas (obviously!). Because of course why would anyone want thinking, rational people to hold public office! Where will that lead us? Thanks to the Supreme Court, however, this law is rarely enforced and on paper only.

Saudi Arabia

Sorcery is punishable (it doesn’t even exist):

Aside from blatant violations of human rights and everyday suppression of women and children, the Saudi government punishes even that which doesn’t exist. Witchcraft and sorcery are serious criminal offences carrying a death sentence. As recently as 2011, a woman was executed for witchcraft. Imagine Harry Potter in Saudi Arabia, ‘Harry, yer a wizard’ BAM ‘Harry, yer dead’!


Unjust vexation is an offence:

How do annoying siblings survive in the Philippines then? Apparently, they allow you to irritate others if it’s justified. All unhappily married couples should definitely get on the next flight to the Philippines and have the pleasure of getting their annoying spouse fined!

Western Australia

One cannot keep more than 50 kgs of potatoes:

The idea behind this law is to reduce imports in the desert province. Further this was a precaution against famines and black marketeers. Authorities even have the right to search vehicles for unauthorised ‘aloo’. In this respect, India is far ahead. Our money is black, not our potatoes!


You have to let in, even strangers, who want to use the toilet:

This should be promoted in India along with Swachch Bharat. Why make Shauchalyas (toilets) when every home has to-let us use theirs?

How many of these laws did you know about?


Radha is a lawyer and preparing for civil services. She is a feminist (no that's not a bad word), environmentalist and potterhead. She loves superheroes but is an agnostic/ atheist.

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